Summer is a time for vacations, backyard cookouts, and a change of schedule for our kids. It’s a time when it’s really easy for our dietary guidelines to get flimsy and our fitness regimens to disintegrate. But it’s also a time that offers delicious foods that are full of nutritional benefits. If you want to ensure that your family eats healthy this summer, follow these simple tips.
Educate yourself on the mental health benefits.
Knowing the effects of eating healthy may motivate you to prepare nutritious meals this summer. We know about the physical benefits of eating a healthy diet: weight control, more energy, a stronger immune system, and so on. But eating well is just as important for our mental health. Nutrition and sleep is what allows our bodies and minds to function, so it makes sense that the closer we get to eating the right nutrients, the better we feel and thrive in this life.
If you abide by a balanced diet of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, you’ll quickly see that you have more mental energy along with a better mood and overall sense of well-being. Our mental health is significantly affected by how we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, anxiety, and grief. Moreover, our diet plays a major role in preventing and managing disorders like depression, ADHD, dementia, and schizophrenia.
Base your whole diet around seasonal produce.
Summer offers such an abundance of delicious produce that you can build every meal around fruits and vegetables for three months and never run out of ideas. For instance, if you’re having people over for a barbecue, add a healthy twist to the menu by cooking up some banh mi burgers loaded with ginger, cilantro, and carrots. Substitute french fries and potato chips for light and tasty baked parmesan squash rounds. Finish off the meal and impress your guests with balsamic strawberries for dessert.
Eat leaner meats.
Meat is an important part of the human diet and always has been. With that said, there’s a way to get the best bang for your bite when it comes to nutrition from meat: eating lean meats. Turkey breast, chicken, and lean beef are the best sources of protein, and they significantly lower your saturated fat and calorie intake. Also, they provide iron and B-complex vitamins for healthier blood and increased energy, and they can help keep cholesterol and stress levels down. Also, fatty fish (i.e. salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout) is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the heart and help prevent and manage cardiovascular disease.
Along with eating healthier, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids in the summer’s relentless heat. We need water to maximize our physical performance and brain function, and it typically takes more intention for us to drink enough as we sweat more. To ensure you’re staying hydrated, carry a water bottle with you wherever you go, drink a cold glass of H20 during your midday slump, and have a cup of herbal tea in the evening. Whole foods like fruits and vegetables are also a source of water.
Summer is the perfect time to maintain—or even elevate—your health game. With as much of a variety of delectable produce as you could hope for, the possibilities for delicious and nutritious meals are endless. Educate yourself and your family on the benefits of eating healthy to inspire good habits for everyone. Create an arsenal of meals containing seasonal produce and lean meats. Stay hydrated on hot summer days. Following these tips will help your family have a healthy and refreshing summer.
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