Summer, the season for relaxation and spending more time outdoors, whether it’s unwinding by the pool, beach or going for an evening walk. For many people, summer means taking a vacation and possibly relaxing the rules around what you eat and drink.
But overindulging this time of year isn’t good for you, whether you’re hitting the cocktails or the ice cream stand all summer or snacking on Christmas deserts throughout December.
Here’s how to enjoy the flavours and social events this summer while still staying on track with your health goals.
1. Keeping hydrated
Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Make sure you’re sipping water throughout the day. Try tracking your fluid intake, one way to track is keeping count of the amount of bottles you’re consuming and ltr content of those as a guide. Or opt for a plain naturally flavoured calorie-free water, or squeeze some fresh lemon in your bottle or glass.
2. Aim for filling, quality foods
Fill your plate with nutrient-dense food choices so you’ll feel fuller at the end of your meal. This tactic may keep you from feeling the need to have dessert or to load up on the pastas or fries.
Focus on plenty on Fresh foods and lean proteins such as eggs or lean meats with water-filled vegetables, in order to limit overindulging on less filling, more calorific foods.
3. Consider your activity levels
If you’re upping your movement levels during summer such as more swimming, walking or cycling, you’ll burn more calories than usual and may need to eat more. But be honest with yourself about whether your chosen activity really warrants a calorie treat.
For example, a short stroll on the beach may not require a pre-workout meal but an intense game of volleyball or tennis may be boosted by some extra fuel or a meal to replenish afterwards.
4. Bring homemade food to the parties
If you’re invited to bbq’s and evening house parties the food choices may not be as healthy as you’d like. Instead, come up with a nutritious go-to side dish to take, like a high-grained, lentil or chickpea veggie-filled potato salad, fruit bowl or stuffed veggie tray. This way you’ll know that there are smart food choices available.
5. Be careful about alcohol intake amounts
Smoothies and juice drinks go down well in the summertime, but they’re also high in ‘hidden calories’ speciality cocktails like piña coladas and margaritas are filled with added sugar and sweeteners. If you’re not taking those into account, those calories can add up quickly and lead to weight gain. Furthermore, after a few, our control of choices is inhibited and often leads to an increase in food and beverage consumption without realizing it. Try to limit your alcohol intake or opt for spirits with low-calorie mixers such as tonic water, diet cokes instead of the beer and wine options.