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Summer weekends at the beach, backyard barbecues and outdoor dinners are finally here. Unfortunately these gatherings are often loaded with high-kilojoule pasta salads, chips, ice cream, cocktails, beer and wine.
Here are our top four tips for enjoying your warm weather favourites, without ignoring your nutrition.
Enjoy the abundance of seasonal fruits like mango, watermelon, rockmelon, grapes, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries; the list goes on. We often get asked whether or not fruit is bad for you, or if it has too much sugar in it. If you’re comparing it to lollies, cake, chocolate and biscuits; then no, it’s not bad for you. Fruit is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Don't go overboard with it but certainly enjoy it and eat it instead of lollies and those other not-so-nutritious foods.
Juicy sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, crunchy snow peas, cucumber and fresh herbs like basil, mint and coriander: yum! Don't hold back when it comes to these either. Make vegetables your hero by filling at least half of your plate with them. They’re full of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. Ditch the stodgy fat and sugar laden pasta, potato and coleslaw salads and go for as much colour as possible while these veggies are in season and tasting their very best.
Summer is a great time to enjoy the fresh catch from your local seafood outlet. Barramundi, perch, salmon, tuna, prawns, oysters, calamari and so much more are on the menu through the warmer months. Not only is seafood packed with protein, it also contains omega 3 essential fatty acids which are great for your joints and heart health.
You can prepare seafood in a variety of ways: barbecue, steam or grill it, leave it raw or even turn it into a delicious ceviche (raw seafood is not recommended for pregnant women). Avoid battered or crumbed fish to keep on top of your calorie intake and flavour your fish with fresh herbs, lemon, ginger, garlic and chilli.
Hot chips and ice cream seem to go hand-in-hand with a summer spent by the beach or pool, but they are laden with fat and sugar and can make you feel just downright blergh. And rather than savouring the treat, you’ll probably find yourself scoffing it down so the chips don't get cold, and the ice cream doesn't melt. Enjoy these foods occasionally but try to think outside the takeaway shop for the majority of your waterside snacks.
Grab a small esky, throw in some frozen water bottles and pack some tasty summer fruit like watermelon, grapes, pineapple and rockmelon, a tub of good quality yoghurt and a serve of hummus with carrot, cucumber and celery sticks. Not only will you feel better for it, you’ll be nourishing and hydrating your body at the same time.
The COACH Program® is a confidential free health coaching service delivered over the phone by nib’s Accredited Practicing Dietitians to help those at risk of, or with, Coronary Heart Disease. Based on a self-management model, it’s all about helping you to take better care of yourself. Please phone 1800 339 219 or email [email protected] for more information.