The Natural Path – Lazy Days and Barbecues: How to Eat Healthy This Summer

by Dr. Marita Schauch, ND, Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre – 

Ice-cream, potato chips, lemonade, cherry pie, soft drinks … the list could go on and on. Summer is full of delicious treats that could derail your family’s healthy eating.

While summer is certainly the season to throw the schedule out the window and adopt a more free-spirited way of living, it doesn’t have to undo all of your healthy eating efforts.

Dr. Marita’s Tips for Healthy Summer Fun:

Stay Hydrated and Get Lots of Rest. Hydration is particularly important on hot and sunny days. Make sure you and your family keep up with their fluids and sleep schedules to allow for maximum playtime enjoyment.

Eat Regular Meals. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable makes it easier to resist overindulgence when your blood sugar is low or in a crash.

Keep Your Breakfast Routine. It’s a great idea to maintain your usual breakfast routine so your family is off to a healthy start for the day.

Watch Out for Hidden Sugar. Things like ketchup and barbecue sauce contain a lot of hidden sugar. Try making your own versions of these condiments so you can save your sugar intake for the good stuff. Common names for sugar in ingredient lists include high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar or juice, maltose, dextrose, rice syrup, and caramel.

Book Accommodation with a Kitchen. When travelling, it’s a good idea to book accommodation with a kitchen where possible so you can stay in control of your food and what goes into your meals.

DIY Your Treats. You can make a lot of yummy and healthy alternatives to iced treats, soft drinks and snack foods at home where you can control exactly what’s going into them. It’s also a fun summer day activity to do with your kids. Banana Nice Cream, Watermelon Slushies, Real Iced Tea and Homemade Potato Chips are some fabulous ideas to look into with your kids this summer.

Limit Alcohol. Alcohol carries enormous amounts of sugar as well as puts a strain on your liver and kidneys. Summer is an easy time to overindulge in alcoholic beverages, so I always recommend being extra mindful of your consumption.

Take Advantage of the Abundance of Fresh Fruit. We are fortunate in the amount of mouth-wateringly delicious fresh fruit that is available to us today. Summer brings favourites like cherries, peaches, watermelon and berries. Your body processes the natural sugars in fruit differently than refined sugar, plus fruit is packed with nutrients, fiber and it also hydrates you, so it makes a perfect treat for your family.

I always like to remind my patients that balance is key in everything and that it’s okay to do things just for the joy. Indulgence can be a part of healthy living as long as we are mindful.

Be mindful of the quality of the food you and your family are eating, but also the quality of the memories you’re making.

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