Summer 2020 may look a vastly different than what we have originally planned. With so many unknowns around us, there may be heightened stress which can cause mindless eating and increased cravings for comfort foods and/or snacking. Staying on track can be hard with all the temptation around so here are 5 tips for healthy eating during these unpredictable summer months:
1) Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated throughout the day is very important to your overall health, wellness and performance. Proper hydration throughout the day can help reduce cravings for sugary/starchy food, enhance energy, improve digestion, relieve constipation and most importantly improve your performance and training. Hydration should be tailored to the athlete and is dependent on environment, altitude, humidity and physical activities throughout the day. All important elements to keep in mind when working to stay hydrated this summer.
2) Fill Half Your Plate with Produce
The standard American plate is nine inches across, filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit is an easy way to stay healthy during the summer. Consuming a variety of vegetables and fruit throughout the day increases your nutrient density, increases satiety during meals and can power your performance. Plus, there are a variety of in-season produce in the summer which are full of vital nutrients we all need for daily life, performance and recovery. Aim to consume about 8 – 12 cups of vegetables and fruit throughout the day. Strive to add vegetables and fruit to all of your meals and snacks to increase your daily servings! Add extra veggies to your sandwich, sneak them into smoothies or sauces for your family, choose vegetables or fruit for an afternoon snack.
3) Aim to have a serving of protein with each meal and snack
Having a serving of protein with each meal and snack can optimize your blood sugar levels, improve your metabolic efficiency, curb hunger and help you feel fuller for longer. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient when compared to carbohydrate and fat. Having a full hand of a protein-rich food with each meal is a great way to begin building your plate. For snacks, aim for about half of your hand.
Grilling is healthy and light way to prepare your proteins, vegetables and fruit for the summer. It adds great flavor, texture and color to all your dishes. When grilling, be on the lookout for cross-contamination when cooking raw proteins and using the same utensils for produce. As well as cooking proteins to the correct internal temperature for healthy eating. Grilling is a commonly known lighter cooking technique for food rather than frying and searing. It’s also an easy way to help you stay on track for the summer by adding substantial flavor and texture to your meals and snacks without all the extra calories from searing and frying food.
5) Plan Ahead
Make a plan for your meals and snacks during your week to help prevent you from snacking or eating out more often than you may like. When preparing your meals and snacks, aim to have a serving of protein, carbohydrate such as vegetables and fruit and a healthy source of fat. This combination will help to balance your blood sugar levels, keep you satiated and help to prevent cravings throughout the day.
Summer 2020 doesn’t have to be a total bust, take back some control with your nutritional intake. Keep these five tips in mind to help you make healthy and nutritious food decisions this summer. Prioritizing your nutrition first is way to support your physical and athletic goals, health and longevity and above all - help you feel your best self with improved energy throughout the day.
Lauren Mitchell is a Registered Sport Dietitian at eNRG Performance. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis in Sports Nutrition and Wellness. Contact her at email@example.com or www.enrgperformance.com.