Written in collaboration with Registered Dietitians Bahar Brocken and Heather Woodward
Copeman dietitians give their five best tips for summertime eating and drinking
Summer can be a tricky time of year when it comes to eating. As the heat intensifies, we tend to reach for unhealthy options in an attempt to “beat the heat.” This can mean a lot of extra calories and sugar from ice cream, frozen blended beverages and alcohol. It can also mean missing out on important macro and micronutrients such as essential vitamins and protein.
Since we still have a few weeks of summer to go, our team of registered dietitians put together their top five tips on how best to eat to beat the summertime heat.
1. Focus on fruits & vegetables
Fruits and veggies are naturally high in vitamins and water, making them a great option for healthy, hydrating snacks. Try some of the following ideas:
- Eat cool fruits & veggies – Some of the best refrigerator-friendly options include watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, oranges, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and celery. You can also try freezing berries and grapes for a unique and refreshing treat!
- Prepare in batches – Take some time to cut up a bunch of fruits and veggies so that they’re easy to grab when it’s too hot to cook. Prepare a big veggie tray or fruit salad ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a quick snack or dessert. Use Greek yogurt as a topping or dip!
- Try “nice cream” for dessert – Still craving some frozen goodness? Try this dietitian-approved recipe for piña colada “nice” cream – a sweet treat that’s made from just a few simple ingredients!
2. Switch up your evening recipe repertoire
Cooking without an oven may seem daunting, but there are many great options for healthy dinners that require absolutely zero heat! Making “balanced salads” (with a source of protein) is just one great example. Try this fantastic watermelon feta salad, or use the following recipe as a guideline (and don’t be afraid to mix it up!):
- 1-2 cups of kale salad mix
- A handful of baby tomatoes
- A sprinkle of pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup drained tuna packed in water (or drained canned chickpeas for a vegetarian/vegan option)
- 1-2 TBSP of low-fat poppy seed/ranch dressing or homemade vinaigrette
- BONUS: Have a glass of cold low-fat milk on the side and piece of fruit for dessert!
Smoothies are another great option for surviving hot summer days. To avoid sugar overload and ensure that you keep them balanced, follow these suggested measurements:
Throw the following ingredients in a blender and blend with ice:
- 1 cup of frozen fruit (or 1 piece)
- 2-3 large handfuls of leafy greens (spinach is a great option!)
- 1 cup of milk (1% or unsweetened alternative, such as almond or cashew milk)
- 1 scoop protein powder or 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1-2 TBSP flax, chia, psyllium or Nutracleanse for added fibre
3. Spruce up your water!
Drinking plain old water can start to feel a bit repetitive. Here are some ideas to mix things up:
- Try an infusion – Give your water some flavour by adding slices of fresh fruit. Try using sliced strawberries, oranges, lemons or cucumbers & mint.
- Make a big batch of homemade lemon iced tea – Brew a cup of strong herbal lemon tea (using 2-3 bags of tea), and then add 2-3 cups of cold water and 1-2 cups of ice in a pitcher. Serve with a slice of lemon.
- Reduce the use of juice – Pour a splash (approximately 1-2 TBSP) of 100% juice into a cup of water. This will add flavour without all the added sugar and calories of a full cup!
4. Add electrolytes after exercising (or excessive sweating)
Staying hydrated is tough, especially if you’re exercising outside in the heat for an extended period of time. As your sweat rate goes up, you actually deplete your body of valuable vitamins and minerals, so supplementing with electrolytes might not be a bad idea. Some of our favourites include Nuun tablets, Gu Roctane and Skratch Labs hydration mix.
Not sure if you actually need electrolytes? Don’t be afraid to reach out to your Copeman dietitian to determine your personal needs.
5. If you’re drinking alcohol, remember to double fist… with water!
Summer means patio season, which can sometimes translate into drinking more quickly in an attempt to cool down. If you’re planning to partake in a few alcoholic beverages, try to alternate each drink with a glass of cold water to keep yourself hydrated. Or, take it one step further and order a mixed drink using water or soda water as a base (with a splash of juice, as per tip #3!) rather than juice, tonic or pop.
We hope these tips have given you a good starting point for knowing how to eat (and drink) in order to beat the heat this summer. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Copeman dietitian for more information or book a nutrition appointment here.
Now relax, grab your fruit-infused water bottle and head outside to enjoy the sunshine!