How does your nutrition change when the weather is ‘hot’?
With the UK enjoying a pretty amazing (and hot) summer so far, we thought we would share some tips to help you get your nutrition on point for these hotter months.
A very obvious one to start with, but believe it or not a lot of individuals simply do not drink enough water on a daily basis.
I have worked with many clients over the years that fall well short of the amount of water that they should be drinking every day, yet ensuring that you drink adequate amounts of water should be a priority. Water is free and easily accessible (you can, and should, look into filtering your water for added health benefits), it shouldn’t be excluded from our daily intake.
To ensure you (and your clients) drink the right amount of water, the first step is to ensure you form the habit of always having some water at hand. Have a glass of water as soon as you wake up, to rehydrate after a good nights sleep, and make sure you have water easily accessible so you can regularly drink it throughout the day.
We all know how quickly bad habits can be formed when it comes to hydration…. Water can quickly become substituted for caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee, and when coupled with some alcohol towards the end of the day we can cause our bodies to become quite dehydrated from the fluids that we consume.
The trick is to get the balance right. There is nothing wrong with 2-3 cups of tea or coffee a day or a glass of wine or cold beer- so long as you drink water regularly throughout the day as well. Regularly drink water to ensure you stay hydrated.
In these summer months and light evenings, many of us are having a nice glass of wine or a cold beer in the garden or at a BBQ. Again there is nothing wrong in this so long as everything is in moderation and that we all take on board the right amounts of water.
Are you drinking enough water? The recommendation is at least 2 litres a day and this should be more in the hotter weather.
Are your clients drinking enough? Monitor this by analysing their food diaries.
Water is one of the easiest parts to get right when it comes to your daily nutritional needs, yet so many individuals simply forget to drink enough glasses of water.
- Have a glass of water as soon as you wake up to rehydrate – do this before having a caffeinated drink.
- Form the habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day by ensuring you always have a bottle of cold water to hand.
- Buy a water filter to make the water you are drinking even better for you by eliminating any impurities yet ensuring that important minerals are retained.
- If you drink alcohol, ensure you drink water alongside it to remain hydrated (this also helps to avoid the fuzzy head in the morning).
Up your salad game
As part of the lessons delivered within our courses, we are always encouraging the use of locally sourced food choices – vegetables, fruit, meat, fish etc. Let’s look at how these food choices can be prepared in the hotter months.
Being very stereotypical now I know, but summer foods are generally a lot lighter (salads/chargrilled vegetables/pastas served with a side of meat or fish) than what individuals may eat in the winter months (which can sometimes be heavier, stodgier foods such as roast dinners and casseroles).
There is of course a good reason for this, lighter foods such as salads are higher in water content and take a lot less effort for the body to digest than the heavier stodgier foods like a roast dinner for example. This digestion process in the body requires energy and therefore produces heat, so the lighter the foods the more comfortable you will feel digesting in the hotter weathers.
So the challenge for most can be – ‘how can you take something like a salad and make it exciting and tasty?’
I love a salad, but for me to get excited about a salad it needs to be a little more than just lettuce, cucumber and tomato.
Make a salad exciting by adding nuts/seeds, avocado, cheeses (such as feta or grilled halloumi), and even add some more calorie dense vegetables like green beans or broccoli. You can even add some higher protein foods to it like slices of good cuts of bacon or hard boiled eggs. Finally you can jazz it all up with some seasoning and a nice fresh dressing (or even a simple drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar), or by adding fresh herbs like mint or coriander (you can even add tastier leaves such as rocket and spinach too).
Lighter foods needn’t be boring.
And when you are adding meat or fish to the dish, have fun in cooking this by cooking them on the bbq, or slow roasting some beef brisket for the day.
Be adventurous in the season of salads and lighter dishes.
This is not a recommendation, simply a little insight into fasting and how I find it easier to fast in the summer months than in the colder winter months. If you have ever thought about trying intermittent fasting, the summer months are a good time to try it and to form a new habit.
The reason it can be easier, for some, is because individuals are generally more out and about in the summertime. And when there is lots going on in your day, there is less chance of being sat around, bored and thinking of eating.
We are not saying that because it is hot you should try fasting, we are simply stating that if fasting has been on your list of something you would like to try, then this is easier to do when it is summertime. Note: if you are considering giving fasting a go, make sure you have done your research on this and have realised the health benefits that it can bring (it isn’t a tool for weight loss per say).
Try it on a busy day when you are out and about. For me I like to fast from the previous evenings meal (say at around 7pm)), until my evening meal the following day. On a busy day it is easy to simply pack some water and head on out, without having to worry about packing your lunch and snacks. Then by the time you return home, it is then that you can start to prep and look forward to eating your next meal after a 24 hour fast.
With all of us getting out and about a lot more in the hotter weather, it can be a nice feeling of not having to organise food while you are out and to just have to think about taking some water for the day.
If fasting is something you have considered trying, then do some research on it and give it a go. Note: it is important that you stay hydrated when fasting and do make sure you understand the benefits and why this is right for you. (We will follow this blog with one about the benefits of fasting and the reasons behind it, so keep an eye out for that one).
To compliment the three tips above, ensure you get a good night’s sleep. This will help your body to grow and repair whilst you rest.
Make sure you keep your bedroom cool, block out the light to suit your sleeping hours and make sure you get your full nights quota of sleep.
So those are our tips for when it comes to how you eat and drink in these hotter months – ensure you are hydrated, make the lighter meals that bit more exciting by making lots of fresh and tasty salads, and if you want to try fasting then the summer months can sometimes make this an easier time to try it.
Enjoy your summer x
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