The summertime is a period of easy living and warm, long days that stretch into night. As a result of the heavy heat, it can actually be simpler to adopt healthy eating habits during this time of year. While during the cold winter months, the foods are more filling and rich to help keep the body temperature up, the summer brings about eating foods that have a more cooling effect on the body. You may opt for a fresh smoothie or salad in the afternoon as opposed to a hearty chili or stew. Whatever your eating preferences may be, we have a list of healthy habits you can adopt that will give you increased hydration and lasting energy.
Habit #1 – Take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
When you eat foods that have recently been harvested and are considered “in season,” you are eating in accordance with nature. In season produce is typically better tasting, less expensive, and provides more nutrients than produce that is out of season. Each plant-based food has its peak period during the year and if you follow their calendar, you’ll be sure to eat the tastiest produce and at the best price (because it grows in such abundance.)
In addition, eating seasonal produce significantly reduces your carbon footprint. We don’t often think of the environmental impact that transporting food has, but foods not in season require more travel and thus, more emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) than seasonally available produce coming from local farms.
Our produce delivery service offers fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, so that you don’t have to think about it! We have a weekly menu that shows what will be delivered in your upcoming produce shipment, and you can make up to 5 substitutions per box. You can even get USDA organic fruits and vegetables delivered to your home if you are searching for the highest quality, seasonal produce available.
Habit #2 – Eat small snacks to keep energy up throughout the day.
As summer days are longer, the body may need more fuel to continue going. One healthy habit to adopt is one of eating small snacks in between meals. Depending on what you eat, smart snacking is an opportunity to sneak in some extra nutrition too! Go for a piece or two of your favorite ripe fruit to curb your sweet tooth. In moments when you desire something a bit more salty and savory, opt for guacamole or hummus with a tray of colorful veggies. And to make things easier on yourself, try to aim for “snackable” plant-based foods that can be easily enjoyed without having to do much peeling, chopping, or avoiding seeds.
This habit will be especially beneficial for people who are more active in the summer. Whether you find yourself in the garden, on evening walks, or swimming in the pool, you’ll want to keep your energy and blood sugar levels steady. Fruits and vegetables provide potent forms of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to perform and recover, so snack up! You’ll want to eat snacks that are good sources of protein and fiber to prevent any drastic fluctuation in blood sugar levels, which is especially important for diabetics. Examples include freshly cut fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, pears, celery & peanut butter, yogurt, cheese, whole-grain crackers, or carrots & hummus. Exercise enthusiasts should aim to eat a carbohydrate and protein source (e.g. apple + cheese stick, strawberries + yogurt) so that you can easily replenish energy stores and optimize muscle recovery to keep you going throughout the day and days to follow.
Habit #3 – Increase your water intake.
During hot days in the sun, it is likely that your body will be sweating more as a means to regulate your internal body temperature. And as you know, the more you sweat, the more water you lose. For this reason, it is imperative that you drink (or eat!) more water than you normally would during other times of the year. If your body loses too much water, you will go into a state of dehydration which we definitely want to avoid! Early signs of dehydration include decreased blood pressure, lightheadedness, headaches, dry mouth/eyes, and constipation. Those the most at risk for dehydration include those taking diuretics and those who have heart or kidney disease. Adults should aim for at least 2.5 liters of water a day. Remember that it does not all need to be consumed as plain water! Try flavoring it using fruit slices or herbs (strawberry and mint anyone?) and eat more fruits and veggies that are high in water content.
At Farmbox, we promote “eating your water” through juicy fruit and vegetable forms, but another way is to invest in a reusable water bottle. When you keep a bottle on you at all times, it can serve as a mental cue to drink more water. Focus on drinking water throughout the day to stay on track with recommended daily water levels. Adults should aim for about 2 liters of water a day. And if you are someone who does not currently drink large amounts of water, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body adapts to being hydrated! You’ll notice a boost in your energy levels, improved digestion, and your skin will even look better.
Bonus Habit #4 – Meal prep healthy foods
Imagine how much easier it would be to eat healthy, if you always had delicious healthy foods on hand. Get creative in the kitchen and seek out recipes that utilize your favorite pieces of produce so that you love it enough to want to make a big batch of it. While everyone may not consider themself a salad person, if you find the right combination of your favorite greens, veggies, and most importantly, the right dressing, it will be easier to include more salads into your diet! Find what works for you and your taste buds, while keeping plant-based, whole fruits and vegetables in mind, and then make it in a big batch. Get into the habit of making a huge salad, veggie quinoa, or even fruit salad at the beginning of the week, so whenever you are hungry, you have a dish ready to eat that you love, and keeps you aligned with your health goals.