With the summer season just around the corner, thoughts of heading to the mountains, beaches, and both domestic and international destinations bring a sense of joy. However, according to experts, preparing for a summer vacation in a healthy and energetic way is more important than obsessing over weight loss or extreme diets. The US health portal ‘The Healthy’ has highlighted “5 Dietary Changes for a Summer Vacation” that are essential as the vacation season approaches.
Teresa Gentile, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests taking a holistic approach to diet. It’s crucial to maintain hydration and focus on a diet rich in low-fat protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and heart-healthy fats to boost vitality.
- Embrace Seasonal Foods: Seasonal foods are known for their health benefits. By enjoying seasonal produce, our bodies can naturally align with the environment. Gentile recommends starting by avoiding excessive consumption of meats and high-fat foods as summer approaches, as these foods tend to stay in the stomach longer, taking more time to digest. It is also advisable to reduce salty foods as they can deplete the body of fluids, which can lead to dehydration. In the summer heat, the body requires more fluids and electrolytes compared to the winter season.
Gentile emphasizes the importance of focusing on seasonal fruits and vegetables during hot weather. Summer offers an abundance of fruits that provide ample hydration, such as watermelon, peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, and melons. Additionally, vegetables like corn, bell peppers, and squash are also in season during the summer.
- Indulge in Healthy Summer Snacks: As the hot weather persists, our appetites and cravings change. We tend to seek lighter and fresher foods for both meals and snacks. Gentile suggests adding summer snacks to our diet to boost energy and maintain hydration. Opting for snacks that contain protein, complex carbohydrates, and a good source of fiber is recommended. She emphasizes the need to resist the temptation of ice cream and instead opt for healthier summer snacks. Watermelon, frozen grapes, blueberries, nuts, and Greek yogurt are excellent choices for summer snacks.
- Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is crucial during outdoor activities in the summer. Drinking an adequate amount of water and replenishing electrolytes such as sodium and potassium is essential. Gentile suggests that electrolyte drinks can effectively replenish lost fluids and minerals. It is advisable to choose electrolyte drinks without artificial sweeteners, low sugar content, and no artificial coloring. Don’t forget to enjoy delicious seasonal fruits like watermelon and melons, which help maintain hydration and provide essential vitamins and minerals.
- Cook and Enjoy Healthy Outdoor Meals: If you plan to cook outdoors this summer, it’s important to choose healthy food options. Opt for dishes that include fresh vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins. Cold bean salads or whole wheat pasta salads can be a great way to incorporate plant-based proteins.
- Focus on Nutrition and Enjoy the Summer: To prepare for summer, it’s crucial to prioritize a nutrient-rich diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, water, and exercise. It’s important not to get caught up in the exaggerated hype surrounding the “bikini season” and unnecessary stress. Gentile emphasizes the need to have fun and create wonderful memories with friends, family, and loved ones during this special and short season. “This too shall pass!” Enjoying a memorable and joy-filled summer vacation is what truly matters.