Summer Nutrition Tips

The sun is a beautiful thing!  However, it can be harmful if given the chance. How can you keep you and your family healthy and safe this summer? Keep your sun exposure to a minimum and follow these other tips.

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Hydration:
If you haven’t heard by now, drinking water is important for our bodies. We should always be sensible about our water intake and summertime is no exception. Drinking about 2 liters of water every day is recommended for good hydration, but you can also eat increase your water intake by eating certain foods.

Hydration Action Tips:

  • Make it a habit to always carry a water bottle with you. Depending on the size of the water bottle, fill it up 2 or more times during the day to make sure you are getting enough water.
  • Pack these tasty watery treats for your next picnic outing and keep them handy in your fridge for quick snacks: Pineapple, Melon, Cucumber, Tomato, Lettuce, Strawberries, Celery, Oranges, and Grapefruits.
  • Limit these foods and drinks as they may cause or increase dehydration: coffee, sugary drinks, and salty foods, such as chips and fast food.

Vitamins for parched skin and hair:
While the summer sun provides us with important vitamin D, it can also wreak havoc on our skin and hair. Sunburns, sweat, and chlorine overdoses can all zap the moisture from our skin and hair. To keep them healthy, reach for vitamin and water rich foods, such as berries, sweet peppers, and even dairy products such as cottage cheese and yogurt. Protein is important too – making a 3-bean salad with a squeeze of lemon for vitamin C is a perfect combination dish to replenish lost water and vitamins.

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Here is one of my favorite go-to bean recipes:

1 can garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can green beans
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.

Mix it all together, and you’re good to go!
3 bean salad_CC

Vitamin Action Tips:

  • Spend about 15-30 minutes in the sun to get your daily dose of vitamin D. Go for a walk, play a game, or just read a book while lying out.
  • Make sure to get a balanced diet, representing all five food groups – Fruit, Vegetables, Dairy, Protein, and Grains. All food groups have different essential vitamins that will keep our skin and hair healthy.

Food safety:
The sun and hot temperatures not only affect us, but also the food we eat. Summer is the perfect setting for outdoor picnics and parties, but serving food outside can be risky. Heat and humidity are two main ingredients for bacteria growth – and bacteria can lead to sickness.

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The same food safety and hygiene rules for indoor food apply to serving food outdoors. Keeping hands and surfaces clean is important but can be difficult to do outside. Keep a water jug, soap, and paper towels on hand to solve this issue, but anti-bacterial wipes will also do the trick. With indoor food, experts recommend packing it up and cooling it off after it sits out for 2 hours.  When food is outdoors, experts suggest putting it away and getting it on ice after 1 hour. This is especially important for meats and dishes made with dairy products, where bacteria can cause the most problems. Be sure to bring plenty of coolers of ice with you to outdoor gatherings.

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Food Safety Action Tips:

  • Try and find a shady spot for the food spread to limit exposure to the sun.
  • Make sure to pack extra ice for the coolers, and extra containers to store leftovers.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or anti-bacterial wipes, often.

EXTRA, EXTRA!

Mosquitos:
Nutrition aside, let’s talk about bugs – specifically, those pesky biting bugs.

Summer and mosquitos go together like European beaches and Speedos.  Summer is peak mosquito season, and some mosquitos can spread harmful diseases.  It’s important to take actions that can prevent bites.

1. Wear bug repellent. There are many options out there; however, some are not safe to spray directly on your skin. Make sure to read labels carefully to determine whether your repellent should be applied to skin or only clothing.

2. If the temperature isn’t too hot, wear long sleeves and long pants. Mosquitos can bite through clothes, so you should still wear repellent.  Covering up more skin will still reduce your risk of bites though.

More information and summer health tips can be found here: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/summertime-nutrition-tips?page=2

-Katy

 

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