Summer nutrition has multiple implications. Maybe you’re a lover of summer foods, or maybe you’re a lover of summer sports. How you fuel your body and make the most of summer produce, food and drink is unique to everyone. The effect of summer temperatures on your bones and muscles, on the other hand, is something a little more universal.
Fortunately, popular summer foods include loads of important nutrients that can set you for success in the last of these dog days of summer. We’ve compiled a few suggestions for finishing off the summer healthy—hydrated, well fueled, and feeling great.
Fruit and vegetable salads—the right way is the delicious way
Fruit and vegetable salads are abundant in the summer. Not only do you have access to popular summer produce that isn’t available the rest of the year, but these ingredients are naturally hydrating, and leave you both filled and refreshed.
Tip: Put as many different types of fruit in your grocery basket as possible. Watermelon, papaya, banana, mango, peach—they all have unique health benefits, and are fresher now than they’ll be in a few months when you find yourself hit with a craving. The more colorful your basket becomes, the better. Fruits also replace the electrolytes you’ve lost from the unavoidable summer sweat-a-thon.
Tip: Make a fruit salad to inspire healthy variety, but top it off right. Syrups and sugars aren’t necessary, and only take away from the fructose sweetness in the fruit. Sunflower seeds, almonds and cashews are tastier to top fruit salads with, and are full of vitamins, fibers and protein.
Research your favorite vegetables, too, and see which pack the healthiest punch as you round off the last of summer. Tomatoes, for example, have loads of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, and support your cell growth, reduce cholesterol levels, and protect your heart from disease.
Tip: Mushrooms are uniquely beneficial in veggie-based salads, as they help your bones and joints stay flexible. They also have a higher concentration of protein, which is great for the last of your summer sports.
Dairy at its best: summer strength
Low fat milk gives your bones the calcium it’s thirsty for, and gives your muscles a boost in protein. And if you’re musing over the many cheeses available for your dose of dairy, consider variety to keep things interesting.
Tip: If you’re sweating excessively in the last of your summer activities, goat’s cheese typically carries more sodium than cheese from cow’s milk—and that sodium will be important to replenish after sweating extensively outdoors. So, sprinkle that feta onto your salads liberally.
Dairy options are in no short supply. If you prefer sweet over salty, you can load up on yogurts to stay cool and keep up with your calcium intake. Yogurts are also packed with probiotics to keep your tummy happy as you wind down from summer treats and transition into autumn.
Fish and seafood
During the year’s hottest season, it’s natural for your body to crave food that’s easy to digest—that is, food rich with water. If you find yourself short on meat intake, consider taking advantage of fresh fish. Keeping up with your consumption with Omega 3 fatty acids in fish like salmon and tuna will help maintain joint health in the last of your summer activities.
Whatever your summer diet has been, enjoy what’s left of it before autumn sets in. These nutrition tips will help support your muscle and joint health, but of course regular activity is important, too. If you anticipate more indoor-time come fall and winter, soak up the last of the sun while you can, and with the right nutrition to support it.