Your Complete Guide to Summer Healthy Eating
(The following is a guest blog post composed by Dylan Foster, a writer and contributor to the website Health Well Wise.)
It’s summer. All the kids are home, and the house seems far busier than it was during the school year. Now, not only do you have to ensure that the kids are fed a healthy breakfast and dinner, but lunch and countless snacks are on the menu as well. Plus, all the extra summer activities and travel plans mean that planning a meal can be anything but routine.
With all the busyness and irregularity, it can be hard to eat healthy over the summer. But, it isn’t impossible. In fact, there are a number of things you can do to help your family eat healthy over the summer.
Create a New Routine
During the school year, you generally have the same routine. Everyone wakes up, eats breakfast, the school-age kids go to school, they come home and everyone sits down at around the same time for dinner. However, summer changes all of that. Suddenly, the kids are home for lunch and filling up on snacks an hour before dinner. They’re off to friends’ houses or bring dozens of pals over. You might have travel plans that throw your usual schedule off of balance. So, you should consider making a new routine for meals and snacks, one that is flexible enough to handle unpredictable summer factors, but stable enough to make sure everyone is eating healthy meals.
Choose the Correct Cookware
Creating healthy meals does, of course, require a lot of cooking. To get the most out of your effort, choose high-quality cookware. Ceramic, cast iron, stoneware, and stainless steel are safe, non-toxic options. The problem with traditional bakeware like non-stick and aluminum is that they can leach hormone-disrupting chemicals and toxins into food.
Take Advantage of Fresh Produce
According to the Washington Post, fresh produce has more in nutrients, water content, healthy fats, and enzymes than frozen produce. In the winter, we sometimes can’t help eating frozen produce instead of fresh. However, once summer rolls around, many vegetables and fruits come in season, which means that it is easier and cheaper to get them fresh than at other times. When you begin planning your meals, take advantage of this by using what fresh produce is available in your area.
Hot outdoor temperatures and increased outside activity can quickly lead to dehydration. According to Rehydrate, symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry skin, headaches, weakness and a flushed face. Dehydration is dangerous because it can throw the body’s system off balance. When the body doesn’t have enough water to work properly, it cannot transfer energy and metabolize food correctly. This makes getting the nutrients from the food you eat very difficult for your body.
Choose Quality Meats
It's grilling season, and although barbecued food is great, there are some associations with grilled meats and cancer. Trying not to blacken meat is crucial as is soaking meat in a non-sugary marinade prior to grilling. Both reduce the risk of harmful chemical formation that occurs when grilling and charring meat.
Selecting grass-fed beef and pastured or organic chicken is also healthier and more nutrient-dense than conventionally raised meat. Non-organic and non-grass-fed meats may contain antibiotics or hormones that are potentially dangerous for humans and may contribute to disease.
Especially for children, starting your family on cleaner meats now can lead to them making healthier food choices when they get older. Plus, according to Time, a child’s diet can have a long-lasting impact on their health.
Choose Cold Treats Wisely
No one is going to skip popsicles or ice cream in the summer, even if it is better for you. However, you can be smart about your cold treat choices by choosing those made with real fruit juice and low in added sugar. If you’re feeling up to the healthy eating challenge, you could even try making your own.
Cooking healthy in the summer doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, with fresh produce and lots of lean meats, cooking healthy meals in the summer can be very rewarding and easy. By keeping these guiding tips in mind, you can easily prepare lots of healthy meals for your family.
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