As the weather warms and schedules become packed with summer sports and activities, it can be easy to let your heart healthy diet slide to the bottom of the priority list.

With a dash of planning and a spoonful of creativity, summer meals can taste as good as they are nutritious and give you the fuel you need to take advantage of the wonderful weather.

Here are some tips for keeping your meals and snacks heart healthy in the summer months:

Go Lean with Protein – Being on the go doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice muscle-building protein in the summer. For dinner options, choose lean meats, poultry or fish.

Become a Fruit Fanatic – Summer is the season for fresh fruits that are chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They make a great substitute for traditional desserts that are high in fat and calories. Wash and slice any combination of juicy melons, berries, or other fruits and add them to your favorite yogurt or sorbet and blend for a cooling and healthy treat. Larger fruits such as peaches or pineapple also pair nicely with grilled items.

Streamline Salads – Salads are also a go-to for the summer months but accompanying oily dressing and cheese can load them down with fat and calories. Choose low-fat or light dressing options and steer clear from cream-based diet spoilers. Minimize added sodium and fat by sprinkling low-fat varieties such as Swiss, Mozzarella, Parmesan or cottage cheese.

With these guidelines in mind, your summer meals will be every bit as heart healthy as they are tasty!

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