We’ve puzzled in the past about how the myth of summer nutrition – everybody eats lighter, right? – stands in such contrast with the reality. Summer turns out to be full of special occasions, family gatherings, neighborhood cookouts, community events, and visits to the ballpark. And one thing these occasions have in common is the idea that our normal eating practices are suspended.
Steaks on the grill, hotdogs in the stands, potato salad under the shade trees – these are all summer staples for most of us. There’s nothing wrong with them occasionally; they’re part of enjoying life. But that key word, “occasionally,” is an easy idea to let slide. Summer brings a “school’s out” mentality to our daily diet in way too many instances.
The USDA came up with an appealing idea for better summer nutrition. Many of them, actually. But a big one is just to make sure half your plate is filled with fresh summer fruits and vegetables. The power of this simple idea to dial up the useful nutrients you’re providing your body to fuel that summer fun, and dialing down the fats and sugars that threaten our well-being as well as our waistlines, is quite remarkable. Nutrition can sound complex if you let it. So an easy-to-remember, easy-to-do tip like this is as welcome as fine summer weather.
There’s even a version that highlights kid-friendly veggies and fruit, because summer is a great time to groove new habits while they’re home.
A Nutrition Tip for Every Occasion
Thinking further about those occasions that prompt bad choices in our summer eating, you can find ideas for preparing in advance for summer get-togethers, to make it just as easy, and just as fun, to eat right. Making snacks your allies for good nutrition can be a matter of planning snacks in advance. Will-power followed by dam-busting is one of the delusions underlying bad nutrition. We know we’re going to snack this summer, so let’s prepare good ones.
Travel is on the rise this summer, as usual, and that can serve as a reminder to “eat local.” Enjoying local produce can be as much a vacation diversion as any park or roadside attraction. The balance of nutrition involves your physical activity, too, and summer is one of the best times ever to dial that up. Not only is the weather inviting for outdoor exercise, but the break in routines makes summer a great time to try something new – a new sport, a yoga class, tai chi, or even dancing. Summer and swimming go together, so if you’re not in the pool already, why not take the plunge?
Let Global Family Medicine be your guide to getting the most out of life, not just in the summertime. Just call us at 843-815-6468.