After a year of social distancing, confinement and working from home, we are all ready to get outdoors and enjoy summer to the fullest! Fortunately, this much needed boost for our mental health can also bring benefits for our physical health, with the right approach. With a little nutrition know-how, you can enjoy the best of summer fun, while feeling your best in mind and body.
5 ways to enjoy a healthy summer to the fullest:
Break out of the barbecue box: Barbecuing is one of the great culinary joys of summer, but there is so much more than just hamburgers and hotdogs that we can throw on the grill. Many vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers and asparagus get caramelized and juicy on the barbecue. Get creative with your grilled veggies and make taco bowls, fajitas and vegetables kebabs. For a sweet, succulent dessert, follow it up with your favourite grilled fruit – we love grilled pineapple, watermelon and peaches!
Switch up your salads: The summer season invites us to grab a cold drink and sit down for lunch on a terrace with a savoury and satisfying meal salad. A great way to get your veggies in, meal salads are versatile and leave you energized without feeling overstuffed and sluggish for the rest of your day. Keep it interesting by getting creative with the ingredients, like adding grilled vegetables or chicken, toasted nuts and seeds, and loads of fresh herbs. Keep vegetables rinsed and chopped in the fridge, and then rotate your toppings and dressings for quick, healthy, delicious lunches all week long.
Sip away: Warmer temperatures will mean an increased need for hydration, especially if you are active outside, so keep your water bottle on hand. Plus, thirst can be confused with hunger, so staying topped up on fluids can help avoid overdoing it on snacks. Aim for caffeine and sugar free options like herbal iced teas, and sparkling or flat water, plain or infused with fruits and herbs for a healthy flavour boost. You will know you are drinking enough if you’re rarely thirsty and your urine is colourless or light yellow.
Pack a cooler: As we take advantage of the warm weather to get outdoors and see loved ones in the open air, pack a cooler with nutritious options to stay fuelled all day long. If you store your cooler in a hot garage, bring it indoors the night before. For maximum freshness, place a layer of ice or ice packs on the bottom, pack your food, and then fill in any extra space with bagged ice. The ice will melt faster if the cooler is full of room temperature air!
Get active: To stay healthy and feel your best, you will want to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity 5 times a week. This is so much easier to do when the weather is warm and going outside is a pleasure, so take advantage! Whether it is jogging, hiking, biking, gardening, or walking, find an activity – or multiple activities – that you enjoy outdoors and get moving! Your physical and mental health will reap the benefits.
Staying healthy and enjoying the best of summer can both be on the table this season. Adding some healthy twists to your summer fun can be simple and enjoyable. For more guidance on enjoying a healthy summer to the fullest, or for personalized nutrition recommendations to help you feel your best, talk to a Registered Dietitian through your EFAP program.