Beat the Heat and Stay Healthy!

By: Lilli Rozanski, MS, RDN, LDN, Sports and Fitness Dietitian, Thibodaux Regional Health System

Following important summer nutrition tips can help you navigate through the hot summer months and stay healthy, regardless of what your busy schedule holds. Social gatherings, family vacations, and other events can provide a lot of temptations. But, if you keep these summer nutrition tips in mind, you'll optimize your health, wellness, and overall quality of life!

Visit the local farmer’s market and incorporate fresh produce

Check out a nearby farmers market for some in-season produce or an orchard for a family friendly berry picking activity. Once you’ve gathered your fruit or veggies, here are some easy recipes to try.

Pace Yourself at a Barbeque

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is showing up starving. Don’t skip meals in advance and, if you’re able, come prepared with a healthier dish.

At any event, walk around to see what’s available and take a minute to decide what you want. If you are following a kidney friendly diet, choose the lower potassium sides like grilled squash or zucchini. Following a diabetic diet? Load up on the vegetables before digging into the macaroni and potato salads. If you are taking blood thinners such as Warfarin, be cautious of your portions of the coleslaw and broccoli salads.

Pace yourself throughout the event and listen to your hunger cues.

Stay Hydrated

It’s important to keep hydrated, especially during the heat of the summer. Calories from beverages can add up quickly so your best option is usually plain or fruit infused water. Keep a reusable bottle with you to stay hydrated throughout the day. Some higher water foods can contribute to your fluid intake as well such as tomatoes, melons and berries.

Plan Ahead

Summer can be a busy time of year! With travel and activities frequently planned, it’s easy to rely on fast food restaurants. Before heading out, pack some healthier snacks to avoid the drive-thru for every meal. Some ideas include:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables washed, peeled, cut and ready to eat with prepacked individual servings of dips like guacamole, ranch or hummus
  • No sugar added dried fruits or squeezable packets
  • Yogurt cups or drinkable yogurt smoothies
  • Trail mix, nuts or nut butter packets
  • Low sodium jerky
  • Cheese sticks
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Tuna or chicken salad
  • Sandwiches or wraps (to avoid soggy bread keep it simple with meat and cheese or pack toppings and individual condiments on the side and make when ready to eat)

It’s true what they say - time flies when you’re having fun, so enjoy your summer! To help you stay on track toward your goals, don’t forget these summer nutrition swaps—try some new recipes, be mindful of portion sizes, drink water, plan ahead and enjoy those summer treats and memories being made.