Top 5 Tips for a Healthy Summer
Nutritionist, yoga instructor, and wellness warrior Faith Shorney shares her top five tips to stay fit for the summer.
Summer is my favourite time of year, as I’m sure most of you will agree, but summer is not always kind to our bodies. Summer calls for a change in diet as most of us want to shed a few extra pounds to fit into our favourite bikinis, yet all too often we go to extremes in search of immediate results. Good health isn’t seasonal, this is a lifelong process of learning to do what is right for your body; start the summer right by making positive changes and developing a few healthy habits and eat more fresh food, your body will thank you in the long run and the fat loss will occur as a side effect of your new found health and happiness. Remember to be kind to your body, it’s the only one you’ve got!
1. The Water Fight
This is really simple. Drink more water, do it all day every day, especially when you’re outside in the sun or out having a few drinks with friends. Here are a few simple tricks that will help you stay hydrated and may even help you keep off unwanted weight.
- Drink 1 litre of water when you get up every morning before breakfast - your body dehydrates when you sleep and needs replenishment.
- Drink half a litre of water about 30 minutes before each meal to avoid overeating, but try not to drink during meals as this will prevent your body from digesting food properly.
- Drink one litre of water about 90 minutes after each meal.
- If you’re out with friends and drinking alcohol, drink one glass of water between every alcoholic drink to avoid dehydration and that awful hangover the next morning.
- Keep a small bottle (500ml) of water on you at all times, try to drink one every hour or so when you’re at work.
2. The Berry Boost
One thing I love about summer is the abundance of fruit, and berries in particular. Keep your anti-oxidant consumption high by eating a cup of mixed berries every day throughout summer - these magical fruits help to prevent tissue damage, ensuring your skin stays gorgeous and glowing all summer, and may even reduce the risk of age-related illness.
Blueberries are my favourite, along with blackberries, because they contain the highest anti-oxidant levels of all the berries. Berries are also high in fibre which helps keep ‘bad’ cholesterol levels down and even increases levels of “good” HDL cholesterol; it also lowers blood pressure - lots of good news for your heart!
3. Be Green
I could probably sit here and list a thousand reasons for you to eat more green vegetables, but I wouldn’t want you falling asleep over there so I’ll keep it short. In terms of calories, dark leafy green vegetables are the most concentrated source of nutrients and are a great source of fibre; they contain most essential minerals including iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as vitamins K, C, E and many of the B vitamins. They provide our bodies with phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin - yes, they have weird unpronounceable names, but these protect our cells from damage and help fight disease. Dark leafy greens even contain small amounts of essential Omega-3 fatty acids which are vital for normal metabolism; they also contain lots of water, which helps to keep you hydrated and contributes to beautiful skin and hair. In short, eat your greens; eat at least 4 servings of green leafy vegetables per day for optimum health!
4. Mix It Up
So you’ve got the healthy green vegetable bit down, you’re well on your way to being full of awesome berry antioxidant goodness and you’re well hydrated. Ok, thats great, but don’t forget about all the other amazing stuff out there; eating a broad variety of fruit, fresh herbs and vegetables every day can really make a difference to weight loss, immune function and all round health.
If you’re not a fan of fruit salad or you find it difficult to get enough greens in, why not try blending it all into a smoothie? Have fun playing around with fruit and vegetable combinations until you find ones that are perfect for you, they are really easy and can be a great way of using up leftover fruit and veg. Add some spirulina or wheatgrass for an extra kick of greens; Organic Burst have an amazing range which is totally free from chemicals and it responsibly sourced and produced. I’ve also posted my top 20 Green Smoothie recipes over on the blog for some inspiration for you to get blending.
5. The Power of Protein
Summers are for BBQ’s and holidays by the sea, in my mind this means only one thing.... lots and lots of lovely protein. Meat and fresh fish are what summer is all about, and in order to eat a healthy balanced diet, eating one small portion of protein with each meal (2 small portions for men) will go a long way to helping you shed the pounds, keep you full for longer and help to stop you snacking between meals.
Source good quality meat and responsibly sourced fish, it tastes better and you won’t need to eat as much of it - better quality meat is has a higher nutrient concentration so you don’t need as much of it.
One last piece of free advice - GET ACTIVE. Get outside in the sunshine and run, swim, play games, do fun stuff with the kids and make the most of it. You’re body was made for moving so don’t waste it on watching television, there will be plenty of rainy days for doing that.