Summer is here! And with this hotly anticipated season comes sun-soaked days at the beach, relaxed evenings on the deck with friends, and food, glorious food! But before you help yourself to yet another slice of pavlova, here are five strategies to help you keep your summer feasting as nutritious as it is delicious.
1. Eat seasonal fruit and veggies
Not only does seasonal produce taste better because it’s been allowed to ripen completely in the sun, it’s also richer in nutrients – the antioxidant content of fruit and vegetables decreases when they are stored for any length of time.
Some of our favourite summer choices include:
These are rich in potassium, beta-carotene and iron.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are bursting with vitamin C and antioxidants.
- Red bell peppers
They pack a powerful antioxidant punch thanks to beta-carotene, lutein and vitamin C.
These are an excellent source of lycopene – cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than raw ones.
This superfood is rich in vitamins A and C.
Other good choices during the summer months are those fruit and vegetables that contain high levels of water like watermelon, which is also loaded with lycopene, and cucumber, which is rich in potassium and vitamin K.
2. Eat out at home
Summer is the perfect time of year to entertain outdoors, whether it be on your deck or balcony, or in your garden. Inviting friends and family to your place for a meal means you’ll have complete control over the menu and can choose options that are light, fresh and healthy.
3. Be prepared
If you’re planning to hit the beach for the day or take a day trip somewhere different, plan ahead and pack healthy snacks and meals. Not sure what to include in your cooler box? How does fresh fruit salad, veggie sticks and hummus, nuts, mini meatballs, boiled eggs and wholewheat wraps sound? And don’t forget plenty of water. Speaking of which…
4. Stay hydrated
The hotter it gets, the more important it is to drink enough water to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of dehydration which include:
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent urination
- Dark-coloured urine
To ensure you’re getting enough fluids throughout the day, keep a jug of water flavoured with slices of fresh fruit on your desk or kitchen counter. And if you’ve grown tired of the usual suspects – lemon, cucumber, strawberries and mint – mix things up with a few new flavour combinations:
- Watermelon and basil
- Orange and blueberry
- Pear and cinnamon sticks
- Strawberry and sliced chilli
- Peach and fresh ginger
5. Don’t overdo it
This approach not only applies to what you eat, but what you drink, too. As tempting as it may be to order another round and enjoy the glorious summer weather just a little longer, remember that overindulging will leave you dehydrated and dealing with a sore head the next morning. Plus, it’s guaranteed to impact your waistline over the long term. So, stick to the recommended intake of two standard drinks per day and opt for sparkling water in between.