summer eating habits
Make smart, safe food choices to battle warm weather at home or away. Elisa Sloss, Hy-Vee dietitian and vice president of Hy-Vee HealthMarket, has helpful tips for a healthful season.
RD, LD, Vice President, HealthMarket
Why should I change my
eating habits in summer?
Nutritional needs may be different in warmer weather and when we are more active. More time spent outdoors and less-healthy eating patterns due to vacations and travel can affect your health. For example, physical activity causes the body to produce more sweat, which can lead to dehydration and loss of electrolytes (essential minerals that help organs function properly). Many uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms include thirst, cramps and heat stroke. Recurrent dehydration can lead to long-term kidney issues. If you are feeling any physical effects of being outdoors or exercising under the sun, it may be a good time to speak with a Hy-Vee dietitian to determine your summertime hydration and food needs.
should I eat?
Take advantage of summer’s seasonal produce, choosing items that are higher in water content, including watermelon, cucumber, berries, celery and lettuce. Incorporate high-water fruits and vegetables into your diet as snacks, or use them in recipes. To increase your electrolyte consumption, select dairy products, meat, leafy greens, whole grains and oranges. Limit beverages that dehydrate your body such as caffeine, alcohol and sugary soft drinks.
How do I plan for a long day outdoors?
Make grocery shopping a family activity so kids have input on healthy snacks they’d like to see at home. Even younger children know what they enjoy and can have input. Find creative ways to beat the heat while sneaking in nutrition: Add fruit slices to water, swap in fruit pops for ice cream or blend frozen bananas and mangoes for a cool, creamy dessert. Keep a bowl of cleaned and cut fresh fruit or cut-up fresh veggies ready to nibble on; kids can help prep produce. Or have them pick out their favorite Hy-Vee Short Cuts while you’re shopping together. Talk to your Hy-Vee dietitian for help finding snacks that suit your family’s tastes and nutrition needs.
What foods should I stock
up on at home for my family?
Keeping healthy snacks at your children’s eye level is a gentle nudge reminding them to choose the nutritious option. For simple meals, reach for single-serve oatmeal, canned fish or pre-cooked grains. Offer alternative versions of their current favorites, such as low-sodium snacks, nut butter packs, raisins, low-sodium whole grain crackers, seeds, freeze-dried fruit and rice cakes that can easily be grabbed by little hands for a snack or tossed into a bag.
How can I teach my kids healthy habits?
Find Your Dietitian
I would begin by making sure you’re taking a water bottle to any activity, and that you’ll have access to refills over the course of the day. Next, whether you’re at a picnic, campground or sporting venue, a safely packed road trip cooler can be your family’s best friend. Before packing fruits and vegetables in a cooler, wash them thoroughly, and keep them far from sandwiches, wraps or salads that contain meat or poultry. Make sure the foods will be kept at a safe temperature. Freezer packs, available at Hy-Vee, can keep perishable items safe to eat. Consider transporting your cooler or snack bag in your vehicle’s back seat instead of the trunk.