When summer rolls around and our usual routines become more relaxed, it's easy to find yourself and your family overindulging in sugary, unhealthy meals and treats.
There's a way to keep your balance though, while still indulging in the best of the summer - who can resist the fun of fresh fruit pies, ice cream and fun BBQ's with friends and family? The key to staying on track and having moderation is to maintain a few of your healthy routines that set you and your family up for good health. Follow the 90/10 rule: if 90% of the meals and snacks you have at home are solid, nutritious choices, then there's no need to stress about the 10% of the time when you're out of your normal routine and choose to enjoy a dessert or alcoholic drink. This easy approach allows you to be flexible, knowing you’ve got the basic nutritional foundation for your family covered. These little efforts don't take a long time but they go a long way in keeping everyone feeling their best (even Fido).
- Keep your breakfast routine – If you're already in a good groove with breakfast options like smoothies, bowls or overnight oats, then maintaining your usual routine is a great way to get your family off to a healthy start each day. Savoury options like omelettes and egg bites also allow you to add in extra herbs and veggies to get those in early in the day. You can also try adding riced cauliflower, avocados and greens to your smoothies and bowls, often undetectably!
- Stay hydrated – As the weather heats up, hydration is particularly important. It's easy for little ones to lose track of time playing and not take enough water breaks. Dehydration and tiredness can also amplify sugar cravings, (which are often mistaken with dehydration!) so make it easy for your family keep up with their fluids by leaving out a dispenser of water and cups that are readily accessible.
- Get lots of rest - maintaining a good sleep schedule, with a consistent sleep time/wake time keeps everyone's mood and energy levels high, so that your family can enjoy your summer activities.
- Eat regular meals – It's way more tempting to overindulge when your blood sugar is low. If you've ever grocery shopped on empty stomach you know this is true! By taking the time to eat regular meals, you can enjoy the occasional treat without feeling the need to overindulge. In between meals, or when you're on the go, keep healthy, high protein snacks like nuts, hummus and veggies on hand.
- Focus on healthy fat and protein – The summer months make it easy to enjoy a wide variety of fresh produce paired with your choice of protein. Marita Schauch, ND recommends eating protein with every meal, to help you feel satisfied and help regulate your blood sugar, along with healthy fats will help keep your blood sugar levels more stable as well. Some of her favourite sources of healthy fats include nuts and seeds, avocados, and olive oil.
- Take supportive supplements – Chromium, berberine and PGX are well researched and useful supplements that can help curb sugar cravings and balance blood sugar levels.
- Reduce Stress – Give yourself time each day to decompress, using your choice of deep breathing exercises, grounding, forest bathing or another natural stress reliever that works for you. Studies have shown that physical or emotional distress increases a person's intake of fatty, sugary foods. These cravings may be due to the increase in our stress hormone cortisol, combined with high-insulin levels, which can lead to a cycle of bad food choices.