SUMMER IS UPON US!

It's officially summer in Florida and wow, between the sun, the heat, the rain it's hard not to melt into a puddle by mid-day. Does this sound familiar? You start your day full of energy, charge through work assignments or household tasks all morning, and then break for lunch. You intend to continue that same pace of productivity after lunch, but for some reason, at around 3 p.m., your energy level starts to dip. Does this sound familiar?

For a quick energy boost, you want something fast, flavorful and appetizing. Enter honey, a natural energy booster thatís a sweet addition to any afternoon snack.

Honey provides quick energy and is a source of carbohydrates. At approximately 17 grams of carbohydrates and 64 calories per tablespoon, it is ideal for a quick pick-me-up since carbohydrates are the primary fuel the body uses for energy.

Honey is composed of a unique carbohydrate composition of natural sugars and trace amounts of antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids, making it a smart, natural, energy-filled afternoon snack. In fact, for years, sports dietitians have recommended that athletes include pure honey in their pre-exercise meal or snack for that very reason.

Honey can be used in many easy-to-make afternoon snacks, whether youíre at school, work, home or the gym. Combining honey with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and other healthful foods can add to your total nutrition and give you a great natural energy boost. Whether youíre looking for a surge of energy or just a sweet reward after a long workout, honey is a quick, easy and delicious all-natural energy source.

Here are a few of Registered Dietitian Mitzi Dulanís Natural 3 p.m. Energy Break Survival Tips:

1. Staying hydrated throughout the day is an essential tool for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Since honey naturally contains about 17 percent water, it dissolves easily. Just add some honey to water for a budget-friendly sports drink.

2. Mix a nut butter and honey, or honey and light cream cheese, as a dip for fresh fruits or vegetables for a wholesome energy snack.

3. To maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day, select meals with adequate amounts of protein such as canned salmon, eggs or nut butters. Take time to prepare an easy lunch like canned salmon with mixed greens or a deviled egg sandwich on whole grain bread.

4. To keep up your energy, choose high fiber foods like whole grains (wheat, rye breads, quinoa) and legumes (beans, lentils).

5. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and what you choose to eat sets the tone for the day ahead. Plain or Greek-style plain yogurt with a teaspoon of honey and a handful of nuts is a nutritious way to kick-start the day.

6. For a 3 p.m. pick-me-up, try one of Mitziís personal favorite snacks: a whole wheat sandwich thin with nut butter, sliced banana and honey. It is a delicious way to power through the rest of your day.

7. Always aim to eat all-natural whole foods that are easy to pronounce with simple ingredients such as honey, strawberries, avocados and spinach.

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The Peace River Honey Bees have produced 100% pure, raw, natural honey since 1979 in a family owned and operated apiary. While the Peace River Bees consider Zolfo Springs (on the banks of the Peace River) in Central Florida home, they are migratory pollinators. These bees travel all over the country pollinating crops, creating honeys with a variety of flavors and characteristics. The result of their work is some of the tastiest raw honey youíll ever try. They produce the famous Florida Orange Blossom honey and Saw Palmetto honey. They also make a Wildflower honey and Blueberry (yes, I said Blueberry!) honey, too. You can also find freeze-dried pollen, fresh royal jelly and other honey specialties.

Peace River Bees Botanical Skin Care is an effective line, made with enough honey to be therapeutic, and all natural & certified organic ingredients. Utilizing ingredients "From the Heart of the Hive" and others, they include: raw honey, organic royal jelly & pollen, propolis, organic aloe vera, organic sunflower oil, organic jojoba oil, shea butter...all known to promote softening and healing, rejuvenation and nourishment, as well as much needed hydration and the restoring of resiliency. Honey soaps too, all made with Peace River Bees honey. Embrace a positive approach towards the natural process of getting older - a little something we like to call "Healthy Aging".

All Natural. Pure and Simple.