by Francesca Alfano, MS, CNS, CDN
Nutrition is a major contributor to our health and overall wellbeing, so when it comes to building long-term healthy nutrition habits, we like to stay prepared during any social situation. Summer BBQs, holiday parties, and lounging by the pool are no excuses to ditch your nutrition goals! No matter what your summer plan entails, we know a healthy summer happens when you put in place a summer nutrition plan as early as possible. Sticking to your plan will help you make better choices all summer long…
The Situation: From planes to trains and automobiles, traveling in the summer might mean extra stress from transportation – as well as the fear of the food unknown (i.e. not knowing where you will eat your next meal and not knowing whether or not your options will be better for you).
The Plan: When you are traveling, pack foods like whole or cut up fruit and vegetables, homemade trail mix, individual almond butter packets, or protein bars. We love Justin’s individual almond butter packets and Rx bars, which can easily be thrown in your bag. When you arrive at your destination, stop at a local grocery store that offers healthy foods- fruits, bagged carrots, nuts, hummus, all make great snacks you can easily stock up on. Keeping foods on hand will help reduce junk-food temptations! And bring even more backup nutrients – in the form of a multi-vitamin supplement – because, even when well-planned, travel nutrition can still miss out on some key nutrients. Our travel bag includes whole foods based multi from Mega Food for extra nutrition assurance.
The Situation: From weddings to backyard BBQs, summer relaxing might mean a glass of alcohol. The summer heat might also mean that a few extra boozy drinks happen at the pool, the beach or your backyard. But, alcohol actually is quite dehydrating. Alcohol suppresses the release of ADH (antidiuretic hormone), the hormone that regulates how much urine we produce. All those trips to the bathroom strip H20 and electrolytes from the body, leaving you more susceptible to heat-related dehydration.
The Plan: Plan to drink a glass of water or seltzer water in between each drink. Consider choosing a beverage that includes some water to prevent dehydration. Think vodka mixed with soda water or a wine spritzer. Practice sipping slowly and be mindful about the amount of alcoholic drinks you consume. When we feel like skipping the alcohol, our favorite non-alcoholic treat is a bubbly Kombucha tea from Health-Ade.
The Situation: As temperature rises, we naturally look for foods to cool us down (hello frozen coffee drinks and ice cream!). Unfortunately, too many or poor quality summer treats are loaded with sugar and can keep you from reaching your nutrition goals.
The Plan: Skip the poor quality treats – there’s always something better! For example, swap the sugary Frappuccino’s for a protein rich cold brew smoothie. The high protein will help curb sugar cravings, while the coffee will give you a boost of antioxidants. For a better frozen treat, we love Choles’s Pops made with 3 simple ingredients and real fruit. For extra bonus points, you can always make your own fruit ice pops at home.
The Situation: Grilling is synonymous with summer. Unfortunately, grilling meats can create heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which may raise cancer risk. No thank you!
The Plan: You don’t have to give up your grill- instead, grill vegetables and leave your meat to be cooked in the oven or on a stovetop! Try veggies skewers made with organic bell peppers, zucchini, onions, and mushrooms or grilled corn on the cob. Or heat things up with stuffed grilled jalapeños!