Summertime is a great opportunity to enjoy beautiful weather with friends and family. Due to busy schedules though, it often can be very tempting to make unhealthy food choices. With activities, such as family barbeques and road trips, it is very easy to overeat and consume less nutritious options. Eating in this manner during the summer can have you feeling lethargic, thus catching a case of summertime sadness. To ensure you have the optimum energy and best summer possible, follow the four H’s: Hygienic, Healthy, Hydrating and Hearty.
With summer being prime BBQ season, along with many kinds of meats consumed, it is important to ensure that all ribs, steaks, chicken, etc. are being properly handled. Make sure to wash your hands and utensils that will be used to prepare and cook the meat. It’s also important to ensure that your food does not sit out for more than two hours after it’s been cooked, in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. If the temperature is over 90 degrees, do not let it sit out for more than 1 hour. Another helpful tip to reduce the risk of bacteria growth includes letting the grill preheat at least 20 minutes before it is to be used. This will kill any lingering germs from its previous use.
Many families are on the go in the summer, therefore potato chips and chocolate chip cookies usually suffice as snacks. As they are delicious and convenient, they can easily be replaced with healthier options, such as vibrant and juicy fruits and vegetables. They are filled with many antioxidants and vitamins that will help keep energy levels high during those hectic summer days. Many farmers markets sell fresh fruits and veggies during the summer, which is something that should be taken advantage of. Instead of serving up a bunch of potato salads and cornbread casseroles at the next family BBQ, try a colorful fruit salad.
Many people do not realize that dehydration plays a major role in decreased energy levels and fatigue. Water is one of the most important fluids for the body. In fact, water makes up approximately 65% of the human body. It is nice to enjoy refreshing iced teas, but in regards to dehydration, caffeine is the last thing you want to be drinking. If you’re trying to add some flavor to the water, drink it with some slices of lemon or refreshing cucumbers.
As mentioned before, Americans are prone to overeating, especially during the summer months. A way to decrease the urge to overeat includes eating hearty meals. The human body craves rather nutritious foods for nourishment, whereas low-protein and “junk” food leaves the body feeling depleted. Eating these types of unhealthy foods causes your stomach to be satisfied for a shorter amount of time, which results in snack cravings. Snacks simply hold off your appetite, but do not generally meet the nutritional requirements the body really needs. When looking for snacks, try eating foods like hummus and veggies that will better satisfy your body, instead of less nutritious food, such as potato chips. Also, when preparing daily meals make sure they are filled with hearty nutrients, such as lean proteins and a variety of vitamins and minerals.