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Eating healthy in the summer – is it insanity or a should-do?

Eating healthy in the summer may sound like an impossible feat. You tend to be on the go more, with less time to prepare meals. And if you have kids, they seem to be active and/or eating 24/7. So how can you make eating healthy in the summer more do-able and still have fun?

Why should you make healthy eating a priority during the summer?

Summer is supposed to be filled with vacation, activities and lots of fun foods, right? So why worry about eating healthy in the summer?

  1. Summer says …

eating healthy in the summer popsicles girlsDoes summer remind you of the ice cream truck, popsicles and snacks galore? With so many chances to eat the sweet stuff, summer actually gives you plenty of opportunities to be intentionally healthy, too. Begin by instilling boundaries and learning/teaching about healthier choices. But allow room for enjoying special treats on occasion.

If you have kids, ask them to help create the boundaries, explain why the boundaries are so important and stick to them. This will help give them a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Example: only 1 sweet per day (any candy, cookies, juice, soda = 1 sweet) but Saturday you may have 2.

When you establish these boundaries in the summer, you are showing just how important eating healthier truly is, year round!

  1. Increased activity = need for more fuel.

More than likely, you work your body harder during the summer. Make sure you’re nourishing your body and not just overloading it with carbs or whatever’s handy. Also, drink plenty of water – half your body weight in ounces each day on a regular day, so even more water on a hot day or if you’re extra active.

Examples: Replace usual snack bars, chips and cookies with fresh cut veggies. Add sweet potatoes (think hash browns), spinach or mushrooms to your breakfast. When you do buy chips, choose healthier versions made from apples, kale or beets.

  1. You have more time, actually.

Well, so you really have the same number of minutes each day, no matter what time of year, as pointed out by “Time Ninja” mom coach, Hannah Keely. But you do have more daylight during the summer, which means more time for grilling outdoors!

Plus if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you’ve got more time to experiment in the kitchen. Grab your kiddos and have fun trying a new fruit or vegetable each week, or make new recipes during a family “cooking lesson”.

Example: Grill enough meat and veggies for a couple of meals so you only need to quickly reheat them on nights when you have activities.

4) Adequate restorative sleep is crucial to your health, but may be most neglected during the summer. If you’re getting jacked up (as we like to say) on sugar before bed or naptime, you’re probably not getting quality sleep. Be mindful of which foods help versus hinder sleep.

Examples: Avoid caffeine within 8 hours of your bedtime. Also limit sugar before bedtime. If you’re eating a late dinner, consider offering a treat before dinner instead, as long as it doesn’t deter your kid from eating a healthy meal.

What are more surefire ways of eating healthy in the summer?

1) Refuse to buy foods you don’t want your kids to eat. They’ll get plenty of that stuff at camps and friends’ houses anyhow.

2) Choose water as your family’s go-to drink. Make sure it’s available (within a kid’s reach) at all times. Offer lemon, lime, berries or watermelon slices as an occasional twist. Skip the sports drinks, which usually contain sugar and other additives that do more harm than good.

3) Make veggies a part of every meal and let fruits be the snack. Fruits are digested better when eaten solo, 15 minutes apart from other foods anyhow.

4) Make your own snack bars or meals in muffin ahead of time and freeze them, so you have healthier options handy at all times. These might thaw just in time for lunch at that summer camp, too.

5) Embrace some new go-tos, such as hard-boiled eggs, celery with cashew butter or steamed veggies, even chilled. (Steamed veggies are easier to digest than raw ones.)

Summer is the perfect time to make healthier choices. You may feel busier, but if you slow down enough to be more intentional about it, you’re sending a message that will remain timeless.

Spring, fall, winter or summer – eating healthy and getting lots of sleep will help make you more successful in everything you do!

 

*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.

veggies with blog title

Tame your grass allergy with a seasonal change in your diet

If you have a grass allergy, you may tear through a box of tissues due to itchy, eyes, sneezing and a runny nose. Weekends may leave you feeling worse since more people cut their lawns then. But did you know that some of your favorite foods might be adding to your grass allergy symptoms, too?

What are grass allergy cross-reactors?

During an allergic reaction, your body sees the pollen or allergen as an enemy and releases histamines as a defense mechanism.

Certain proteins in fruits and vegetables cross-react with the proteins in grass, causing your body to release additional histamine. So if you’re sensitive to grass, you might also be sensitive to the foods that cross-react with it.

Because cooking fruits and vegetables breaks down the proteins in them, you may be able to tolerate them better cooked than in raw form. But that doesn’t mean you should eat them as part of your daily diet during prime grass allergy time.

Foods to avoid if you have a grass allergy

If you know you have a grass allergy or sensitivity, avoid these foods when grass pollens are high:

  • tomatograss allergy foods avoid
  • celery
  • potato
  • pea
  • peanut
  • melon
  • orange
  • peach

Raw apples or the pesticides on lettuce may intensify your grass allergy symptoms, too. And though you may instinctively reach for the wasabi or hot salsa to “open up” your sinuses, know that spicy foods tend to release loads of histamines – not a good thing if your body is already in overdrive. 

Which foods will help combat your grass allergy?

When there are foods to avoid, there are always foods to latch onto for the healing effects you need.

Green tea contains natural antihistamines, but remember it contains caffeine. And avoid purchasing orange or peach flavors.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish help reduce inflammation caused by the histamines in your body. Eat more salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel or albacore tuna during grass season. Fresh, wild-caught fish is best.

Add turmeric and ginger to your fish or chicken. Or combine these powerful anti-inflammatory spices with cinnamon and hot water to make a tasty tea.

Finally, probiotics, specifically with lactobacillus or bifidobacterium help balance your gut flora. If you’re not taking probiotics daily yet, you need to read “What you should know about probiotics for women, men and kids”.

Of course, you can also tackle your grass allergy symptoms with these non-food tactics, too. Though I strongly advise against medications, including steroid nasal sprays, because they are likely to cause more damage to your digestion and body in the long-term.

There’s a reason foods grow in seasons. Pay attention to how your body responds to foods during each season. Then choose to eat what your body needs, not necessarily your taste buds want!

 

*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.