There’s just something about summertime that puts a little more pep in our step and smiles on our faces. With longer days and plenty of sunshine, it’s easier to get outside, be active and enjoy the things we love. Keeping tabs on nutrition should not take a summer break, though, so be sure you’re taking care of yourself while having fun in the sun.
Nutrition For Summer
In many ways, loading up on essential vitamins and minerals in the summertime is a little easier, thanks to many fresh fruits and vegetables in season. As older adults, though, we actually need more protein and certain vitamins and minerals than we did when we were younger to keep us going strong.
Importance of Hydration
Keeping the body hydrated is especially important in the summertime. As the temperatures rise, our bodies tap into our fluid stores and create sweat to cool us down. Whether or not it’s summer, older adults can have a harder time staying hydrated year-round because of a natural decline in our sense of thirst.
But guess what – if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re probably already a little dehydrated! Get ahead of that feeling by taking sips of water and other non-alcoholic fluids throughout the day, from water and iced tea to smoothies and nutritional drinks. Eating fruits and vegetables with high water content like cucumbers and watermelon can help hydrate the body as well.
Six Summer Nutrition Tips
After months of indoor hibernation, we are ready to get out, meet up with friends, and be active! Keep your nutrition goals in check with these summertime tips:
- Start with Protein. Hopefully, there are a lot of BBQs and picnics in store for you this summer. For these food-focused get-togethers, have a plan to start with a protein-rich food at the center of your plate, like a burger, some chicken, a piece of steak, grilled fish or a bean salad. Our need for protein increases as we get older, so prioritizing protein helps us make sure we’re getting what we need. Then you can accompany your protein food with nutrient-rich sides like roasted vegetables, fruit salad and more.
- Find In-season Fish. Grilled fish with a squeeze of citrus is a quintessential summertime dish. Not only that, but fish is a great source of protein, vitamin D and vitamin B12. If you choose fattier fish like salmon, you’ll also get heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Find out what’s in season or shop the sales at your local grocery store and go ahead and grill it up!
- Consider Calcium Sources. Ice cream may be the stereotypical summer treat, but let’s not depend on it as our only source of calcium. We need calcium to help support strong bones. Good sources include milk, yogurt, cheese and calcium-fortified beverages.
- Do Outdoor Activities. This is probably a no-brainer – isn’t summertime all about spending time outdoors? Of course, but it’s also a great way to get some vitamin D, another nutrient that’s essential for bone health. Most of us need to raise our levels of vitamin D, and we can do that simply by soaking up some sunshine. Of course, you can also get vitamin D from foods like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and drinks like milk and vitamin D-fortified beverages.
- Pack Water and Snacks. Vacations, air travel, road trips – they can all wreak havoc on the diet if we let them. Use the rest stops only for bathroom breaks and fuel up with your own home-packed meals light bites. Grab an insulated cooler and fill it with homemade sandwiches, fresh fruit and healthy snacks, along with frozen ice packs to keep things from spoiling.
- Nourish and Help Hydrate with Nutritional Drinks. With so many activities to do and people to see, sometimes we can forget to eat and drink. Make every bite and sip count with convenient, portable, nutrient-rich beverages which can help meet fluid and nutrient needs. BOOST® Nutritional Drinks have protein, vitamins and minerals to help get the nutrition you need, allowing you to make the most of those long, active summer days.