During the summertime, when schedules are lax, people forget to structure their vital nutritional intake. Follow these tips to ensure your family stays safe, healthy and happy.
Smart Summer Eating:
Lazy days at the pool, late night campfires and the sweet taste of ice cream…there are plenty of reasons to love summer. But this time of year brings a hidden danger along with it—an abundance of food-related activities that pack in sugar, unhealthy fats and too many calories.
Fructose added to things like soda, popsicles and many packaged foods can mess with the hormone that regulates satiety. This means you’re likely to overeat, having a bit more than the occasional sip of soda here or popsicle there.
Have your summer treats in moderation, but follow these tips to help you curb the overeating and excess sugar consumption that leads to obesity, insulin resistance and a host of other health issues.
Tips for avoiding overeating at summer events:
- Eat before you go. Fruits, vegetables and lean proteins are all good choices.
- Too many good foods to resist? Take a small portion of your favorites and chew them slowly. You’ll get all the pleasure and a fraction of the calories.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks. This helps you fulfill your water quota for the day and leaves less room for the foods you want to avoid.
- Bring a healthy dish to the party so you can be assured that there’s always one item you can eat guilt-free.
- Participate in any exercise-related activities you can. Whether it’s swimming, hiking or kicking a ball around, being active will help burn calories and keep you away from refilling on that third portion.
What causes dehydration? We all lose body water daily but easily replenish it with fluids and moisture-rich foods. However, when high temperatures make us sweat more and high humidity doesn’t allow our sweat to evaporate as quickly to cool us down, we lose more water than usual. This puts us, children and especially the elderly, at risk for dehydration.
The Warning Signs
Early symptoms of dehydration are fatigue, thirst, dry lips and tongue, lethargy and overheating. If you suspect dehydration, go to the shade and drink slowly and steadily and remove any excess clothing. Severe dehydration needs to be treated in the hospital – it can also cause dangerously low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, headaches, shock, and even death.
- Hydrate before you’re thirsty—the first sign of dehydration. Always keep a water bottle with you.
- Use your urine as a guide. Clear or pale urine is a good sign, while dark yellow is a sign that you should increase fluid intake.
- Snack on water-rich fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers and zucchini.
- Eat spicy food. The ensuing tingling and sweat cools down your body.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine which pull water from your body and increase the effects of dehydration.
- At the start of the season, before beginning intensive outdoor sports, acclimate your body to the summer heat with short exercise periods outdoors, then slowly increase.
- Wear loose‐fitting, lightweight clothing on hot days and seek shade when outdoors.