Ah, summer--the season of sunshine, outdoor activities, gatherings and lots and lots of food! Barbecue party over here, beach picnic over there, there’s nothing that we can’t say no to...especially when there’s food involved. And, although we seem to enjoy all the goodies that the world has to offer, we often end up paying the price of eating foods outside of our regular food routine. From tummy aches to weight gain to poor digestion, it seems as if our body is trying to tell us something. And, if our body could speak, we believe that it would say, “There’s an easier way to enjoy summer foods.” And, this year we’ve decided to listen to our bodies and discovered 5 easy ways to eat healthy during summer and avoid the summer weight gain and body ache! Check it out:
1. Eat Foods with Probiotics
You might find yourself eating foods during the summer that aren’t part of your typical menu. As a result, your body may not be used to handling these new foods leading to some bloating or indigestion. So, at this time your body could definitely benefit from a little extra power in the gut department. And, we know just the right guy for the job, queue probiotics! Probiotics are good bacteria that help to keep the gut healthy. You can think about probiotics kind of like extra staff added to your workplace to be able to handle a busy day. Probiotics collaborate with the healthy bacteria that is already in your gut to manage all the new food coming in and prevent any unwanted aftermath. By adding probiotics or eating more foods with probiotics, your body will be better equipped to handle anything that comes it's way. Some foods that naturally contain probiotics include kombucha, pickles, miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt. And, if any of these naturally probiotic-rich foods aren’t suitable for your diet regime, you can also look for foods with added probiotics like soda, granola, granola bars, and more.
2. Protein, Protein, Protein!
Can you hear the sizzle? That’s the sound of our barbecues firing up for the summer and our appetites growing. Barbecuing proteins is an essential part of summer and coincidentally a key player in a successful and healthy summer diet. No matter what type of protein you prefer, eating the protein on your plate first may make a difference in your summer diet. Protein is very filling and it can also help to prevent sugar spikes and crashes. By eating the protein on your plate first, you might become fuller, and faster, preventing any overeating. If you’re hosting a summer gathering, look for opportunities to create more protein-dense meals and h'orderves like vegan meatballs with a mango jalapeno sauce, or a protein-packed pasta salad!
3. Stay Hydrated
Temperatures are rising and the sun is shining, meaning that you just might work up a sweat without having to hit the gym. Sweating indicates that you’re losing fluids. And, if you lose too many fluids without replenishing them, you can become dehydrated. And, as we’ve mentioned in many of our previous blogs, dehydration is not a state that you want to be in. Aside from the physical side effects that can occur from dehydration, dehydration may also influence your hunger levels. This might be a reason why you feel hungrier in the summertime. So, ensuring that your water levels (and in some cases electrolytes) are at optimal levels may prevent you from eating unnecessary calories.
To ensure that you’re eating because you’re actually hungry, not thirsty, take a couple of sips of your drink of choice 15 to 30 minutes before reaching for food. For best results, take a sip of your drink of choice whenever you feel thirsty throughout the day. It is best practice to always carry a water bottle around. And, if you don’t enjoy the taste of plain water, using flavoured drops can improve the flavour. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid or consume less of anything that can be dehydrating such as alcohol, caffeine or any type of sugary drink during the summer.
Moreover, if you plan on spending a prolonged time in high heat such as by gathering at the beach, or doing an outdoor workout, or playing outdoor games, an electrolyte drink may be necessary to ensure proper hydration.
4. Be Wary of Condiments
Ketchup, mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, creamy salad dressings and all that other fun stuff that you can find at any barbecue may be the culprit behind some summer weight gain or digestive discomfort. Most of these condiments contain high levels of sugar and other ingredients that can add empty calories to your diet and upset your digestive system. Although, a little bit of any condiment or sauce can’t hurt, it is very easy to overindulge in these. Luckily, we have a solution--there’s no way that we’d let you eat plain foods! Since many lovely people took the time to make healthy versions of these, you can still enjoy these condiments, sauces, and dressings at your summer barbecues! Nowadays, we’ve got low sugar, low calorie, keto, paleo, vegan and even Whole30 approved versions of all these condiments, sauces and dressings, so you can enjoy them liberally this summer.
5. Be Prepared
During summer time you’re more likely to spend time outside, leaving you prone to temptation. And, although treating yourself to some ice cream from time to time shouldn’t be an issue, you don’t want to consistently give into temptation. Like we mentioned above, these irregular foods can cause some digestive problems and may affect your overall gut health. So, it is best practice to be prepared with a go-to snack that you know your body can tolerate for whenever hunger strikes. The best snacks are typically fresh fruit and vegetables snacks, but we know that these perishable goods can be affected by the hot weather. Nonetheless, there are healthy fruit and vegetable snacks available that are non-perishable and summer-heat-resistant! Snacks such as freeze-dried fruit, fruit chips, vegetable chips are always an excellent summer snack choice.
The summer season may bring lots of beautiful weather and delicious foods that are not part of your typical diet. Falling out of your eating habits may cause some dietary issues and/or lead to weight gain. To avoid these pitfalls, you can focus on eating foods with probiotics, staying hydrated, and meeting your protein goals. It is also a good idea to make healthy swaps for any foods that you might be eating often. Additionally, stocking up on some well-tolerated healthy snacks for when hunger strikes is essential to prevent any symptoms.
Following any of these tips may help you maintain a healthy and pain-free diet during the summer time. If you plan on introducing any new foods into your diet during the summer time, it is recommended that you introduce a little bit at a time to see how your body reacts. And, although summer time is full of tempting and delicious food, it is important to listen to our bodies and prioritize our health. Luckily, there are tons of healthy and delicious foods that fit into a healthy summer diet available at your fingertips! Shop your favourite summer foods here!