// By: Emily Fitzgerald, MScFN,RD & Samantha Nesrallah, RD

Summertime is synonymous with patio drinks, barbeques, pool parties and other indulgences that arise when the good weather shows up. These temptations may make it more difficult to stay healthy during the summer months. Whether you’re at home or taking some time to travel this season, here are 5 helpful tips on how to stay healthy over the summer months.

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: With the rising temperature, our bodies produce sweat to cool down causing a loss of water and possibly dehydration. This makes it especially important to stay hydrated during the summer months. Mix it up by adding some fresh fruit or mint leaves to your H2O!
  1. Alcohol in moderation: One alcoholic drink can pack a lot more calories and sugar than you may expect. Alcohol offers 7 calories/gram compared to protein and carbohydrates which offer 4 calories/gram. Try spacing out your drinks an hour apart and enjoy a glass of water with each alcoholic beverage. We know that drinking alcohol can increase your risk of many types of cancer1. Limit intake to less than 1 drink/day for women and less than 2 drinks/day for men1.
  • 1 bottle of beer = 150 calories
  • Rum and Coke (7.5 oz) = 170 calories
  • Cosmopolitan = 150 calories
  • 1 vodka Cooler = 250-370 calories
  • 1 glass wine (5 oz.) = 105 calories
  1. Opt for a balanced BBQ: Although it can be tempting to throw a burger on the grill every time you barbeque this summer, a higher intake of red and processed meats has been shown to increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer2. Research also shows that cooking meat, poultry and fish at high temperatures, such as on the BBQ, results in chemicals that may increase your risk of cancer3. Here are a few suggestions to help decrease your risk, while still enjoying the BBQ this season3:
  • Avoid charring meat
  • Trim off visible fat before grilling
  • Marinate the meat – studies have shown that this simple action can reduce the amount of cancer-causing substances produced by barbecuing
  • Choose lean cuts of meat to grill
  • Enjoy fresh vegetables and fruit (pineapple is delicious!) on the grill to contribute to a nutrient-rich, wholesome, balanced meal
  1. Head to the farmer’s market: With an abundance of local produce in season during the summer months, be sure to check out your local farmer’s market and get the freshest quality ingredients, all while helping your local economy. For more information on the benefits of buying local check out last month’s blog post.
  1. Enjoy homemade cool treats: Popsicles are a delicious treat to cool down during the hot summer months. However, most store-bought ones are packed with sugar. The best choice is to make your own! Check out our simple recipes for homemade fruit popsicles for the whole family:

For more individualized tips on how to stay healthy this summer, check out our one-on-one nutrition coaching consultations!

Stay Grounded,

Emily

Written in collaboration with Samantha Nesrallah, RD, MPH(c), Nutrition Volunteer

References

  1. http://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/live-well/alcohol/?region=on
  2. http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Cancer-/Lowering-your-Risk-of-Cancer-What-about-Specific.aspx
  3. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/hlbc/files/healthyeating/pdf/eating-guidelines-for-cancer-prevention-meat-nitrates-and-barbequing.pdf