Stay hydrated to prevent dehydration. More water, less caffeine. Dehydration causes muscle cramps and leads to electrolyte imbalances as well as dry skin. Aim for 8-12 glasses of water per day depending on your activity level, gender, and body size. If you are exercising for 60 minutes, make sure you are replacing your water stores by drinking 6 ounces of water every 15 minutes.
Keep your food safe this summer. Food safety is key during the hot summer months, especially when packing for the beach or a day in the sun. According to the FDA, cold food should be kept at or below 40°F and hot food should be kept at or above 140°F to prevent bacterial growth. Be careful with cross contamination; be sure to separate uncooked meats and seafood from other foods that may be consumed raw, such as fruits and vegetables.
Eat the rainbow in a variety of ways. Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables to take advantage of what’s in season and eat colorfully! Freeze fruits as a snack; some good fruits to try are: grapes, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries), mango, and bananas. Try a new take on fruits and vegetables by grilling them on the BBQ.
Take advantage of what’s in season:
- For veggies, try summer squash, bell peppers, tomatoes or eggplant.
- For fruits, try cherries, pineapple, melon, berries, or peaches.
Always be prepared with snacks! If you are doing an outdoor activity for more than 1 hour, make sure you pack a snack to help fuel your time outside. Use the rule of at least 2 of the 3 macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and protein) for each snack. Some examples are: cheese and crackers, cottage cheese and fruit, hummus and vegetables, homemade trail mix with dried fruit, nuts, and your favorite whole grain cereal.
Spend the day outdoors. Plan outdoor activities with your family or friends to spend time in the warm summer weather. Go for a walk in the park, get friends together for a sports game of your choice, or do some gardening. Choose activities that you enjoy or be adventurous and try something new.
Courtney Darsa, RD, CDN, is a clinical nutritionist at Hospital for Special Surgery. She received her BS in nutrition from the University of Delaware. Courtney also works as a part time nutritionist at the Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders. Some of her other interests include eating disorders, pediatric and adolescent nutrition, diabetes, and weight management.