By Dr. Kristen Bovee, Peninsula Naturopathic Clinic & Hydrate IV Wellness Centre –
The summer brings us hot days, barbecues with friends and copious opportunities to socialize and celebrate. With this comes food-related activities that don’t necessarily mean healthy choices. Research released in 2017 by the Public Health Agency of Canada states that 64% of Canadians over 18 are overweight or obese and so are 30% of children aged five to 17. With so many of us in an unhealthy weight range, it is more important than ever to be conscious of our food choices, particularly in the summer. The following are adaptations to popular summer food choices to make your season as fun as can be.
Beverages. With the heat comes the desire to drink a lot more and summer drinks often include too much sugar. Iced tea, lemonade, cold sodas and alcoholic beverages (piña colada, anyone?) are but a few of our common summer drink choices. Low-sugar replacements include:
• Herbal iced tea (hibiscus is delicious) with either monk fruit or stevia for sweetening as desired.
• Fresh lemon or lime juice in water or soda water, adding the same natural sweeteners to your liking.
• Infused water combinations including strawberry, orange, cucumber, grapefruit or any other fruit in season (berries and citrus are best) with herbs such as rosemary and lavender to give it a special touch.
• For the adults: Distilled alcohols with ice can be added to any of the above for a tasty coctail.
Snacks. We all love to snack during social times. Summer snacks often include salty high-carbohydrate choices that often don’t give us a lot of satiety. Instead of chips, cheezies and other processed packaged snacks, consider the following that are jam packed with nutrients:
• Nut and seed mixes
• Dried apple or kale chips
• Dried Seaweed snacks
Mains. We easily get into a meal rut when we are busy in the summer. Consider these options for your main meals in the summer whether you are home or travelling.
• Breakfast. A popular weight loss approach is fasting for 16 hours or more a day. While this might seem like an easy way to shed some pounds, our bodies do go through a lot of stress. It is best to have something in the morning before your day starts such as fresh fruit, natural unsweetened yogurt with nuts and seeds or protein smoothie with avocado, spinach and a berry or other tree fruits.
• Lunch. Consider lettuce wraps with chicken and veggies such as shredded carrot, radish and peppers or gazpacho soups with a quinoa grain salad side.
• Dinner. Have a salad with a protein. This for sure works at a barbecue and is so simple and satisfying. Choose a non-dairy, low calorie dressing such as lemon or apple cider vinegar and oil. Add as many fresh raw veggies on the salad as you desire. For added “good fats” sprinkle toasted seeds or nuts or ¼ of an avocado.
Eating well at any time of the year can often be confusing. With so many diets out there and fads for weight loss, people often lose the motivation to eat well and revert to bad habits and convenience. This summer try to eat in the season (fresh is best!) and focus on the health-giving options during travel and social events.