Get in shape!

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The July 4th holiday is finally over.

Many of us returned to work on Tuesday, stumbling about in a post-holiday haze caused by all sorts of bad behaviors, most of which were centered around eating.

All of the chilidogs, cheeseburgers, whipped cream laden strawberry shortcakes and potato chips with dip have been consumed (though there may be a few leftovers still lingering in the refrigerator).

And more than likely, consumption was the most strenuous exercise engaged in by most Americans over the course of this long weekend (that and hauling a lounge chair out to watch fireworks).

Independence Day celebrations mean that summer is officially in full swing and also leaves many of us with ruined diets and wrecked waistlines.

But all is not lost!

Don’t throw away your swimsuit just yet.

Summertime is the perfect time for eating light.

Fresh fruits and vegetables abound – from plump ripe tomatoes to sweet and succulent cantaloupes – the foods of summer are for sale and ready for you to enjoy.

Got a sweet tooth?

Nothing satisfies that sugar craving like berries.

Fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries still abound at grocery stores, fruit stands and farmers’ markets.

And one of the great bonuses of berries is that they are rich in vitamin C, are a good source of fiber, and have lots of ellagic acid, an antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties.

Don’t forget the watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes and peppers.

What makes these tasty fruits and veggies so colorful? Part of it comes from being chock full of such healthy substances as such as vitamin C and A and lycopene, another helpful antioxidant.

Add tomatoes and peppers to any dish to pack in flavor and nutrition with few calories. Slice up melons and keep in the refrigerator for a quick any-time snack or dessert.

Just remember – no matter what you ate over this past weekend, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious summertime foods to help you get back into the swing of eating healthy.

But remember, ordering extra tomato on your fast-food triple-stack cheeseburger or putting jalapeno peppers on your chili cheese dog with slaw probably isn’t going to help you with that bathing suit.

Although, if you can’t fit into your swimsuit after this weekend, you can always use it to wipe the chili from your chin, that is, until you get back on track and back in shape just in time for Labor Day weekend.