As the weather warms up, your family’s nutrition will begin to change. More time at home or on holiday trips can be game changers that very quickly derail the most dedicated health enthusiasts (myself included). Below are some quick pointers to help you and your family stay on track during the hot season:
Be smart with salads. Salads are great for summer because they are easy to prepare and don’t generate much heat in the kitchen. However, you should pay very close attention to the dressing. A fresh dressing made from lemons and olive oil is way better for you than anything that comes out of a bottle, no matter what the label says.
Remember to eat protein. Sometimes in hot weather, the body doesn’t crave meat the same way it does in winter, but protein is still an important part of your diet. This isn’t a license to have everyday barbecues, but simply a reminder to have enough protein. If your kids are out cycling and leaping into pools, they will need a little extra help to power and rebuild those muscles. Good non-meat protein sources include beans and tofu.
Arm yourself with antioxidants. Research suggests that consuming antioxidants (selenium, vitamin E and C) is a much better way of preventing long-term sun damage than applying “anti-aging” creams. Seafood and meat are good sources of selenium, while nuts, seeds, whole grains and eggs are sources of vitamin E. Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables, so take advantage of the fresh summer berries. I like to buy them in bulk during the summer while they’re cheap and freeze some for off-season use.
Go nuts. Weight for weight, nuts are much more satisfying and nutritious than chips, pretzels or other salty snacks. Not only do they pack a good selection of healthy oils, fiber, vitamins and minerals, but they are also more work for the body to digest and absorb. Pretzels, chips and even dried fruits are easy to digest and deliver a big dose of sugar into your bloodstream, leading you to pack on the summer pounds.
Drink different. Unless it interferes with prescribed medications, give the kids red grapefruit juice rather than apple or pineapple juice; it is way healthier. Moms and dads: If you want a summer cocktail, stay away from the sugary margaritas, pina coladas and mojitos. But most of all, make sure you’re getting plenty of good, pure water. Nothing will do a better job of seeing you through a hot Beijing summer.