By Erin McIntyre, Dietetic Intern at Beverly Hospital
The season of Summer is upon us! The days are longer, the sun is shining, and we are finally seeing COVID restrictions being lifted. The summer heat may be beckoning us to spend more time outdoors, increase our activity levels, and plan more gatherings with friends and family.
Here are a few tips to keep you safe and healthy this summer and beyond.
Eat seasonally and choose fresh produce when possible
California’s agriculture is the most productive and varied in the US, which means we have so much amazing fresh produce to choose from every month of the year. Seasonal food is fresher, more nutritious, tastes better and is more environmentally friendly. Some produce to keep an eye out for each month are:
- Swiss Chard
- Summer Squash
- Butternut Squash
Remember to stay hydrated
The warmer weather of summer requires us to pay special attention to how much water and fluids we are drinking (and eating)! Drinking enough water helps to combat aging, regulate your temperature, manage your weight, improve energy levels, improve digestion, lubricate your joints and so much more.
Here is a simple equation to figure how much water you need daily (minimum):
Example: If a person weighs 200 pounds then they would need 100 ounces of water per day (minimum).
Ways to have more water in your day
- Track your daily water intake to keep yourself accountable
- Drink a cup of water right when you wake up and before bed
- Have water in addition to your morning coffee
- Bring a filled reusable water bottle with you every time you leave the home so you always have water on hand.
- Enjoy fruits and vegetables that have a high water content such as watermelon, tomatoes, oranges, lettuce, and cantaloupe.
Use these healthy eating tips at summer gatherings
- Come hungry but not starving. Attending gatherings on a completely empty stomach could lead to overeating and cravings as we overestimate how much we should be eating. If you are hungry, try to have a high protein snack such as hardboiled eggs or a low fat cheese snack beforehand.
- Bring a healthy side dish (fruit or vegetable based). This ensures that you at least have one healthy option to enjoy.
- Prioritize water over sugary beverages. Gatherings are a time to celebrate and it is understandable for there to be alcohol or sugar-sweetened beverages. It is ok to partake and enjoy, but it is also important to make sure you are drinking enough water and keeping sugar intake low.
- Save the treats for after you eat! If you are eyeing that apple pie from across the room, try to eat some nutritious side dishes and protein first. That way, your stomach is full of nutrients first and reduces the chances of overeating sugary desserts.
Every Piece Of Effort Matters
These tips are all suggestions and of course there is always room for imperfection as perfection is not the goal. There is no need to get overwhelmed with too many food rules but we hope some of these can help you reach your goals all while enjoying the process! If you to learn more about healthy eating, visit Beverly Hospital’s event calendar and register for upcoming nutrition classes at: