Summertime is here! I don’t know many people that don’t enjoy summer. Yes, we may moan when it gets a little too hot, but there’s no denying that, as The Fresh Prince said in the timeless classic, Summertime brings with it “…an air of love and of happiness..” It’s also a time when the social calendar steps up, which as great as it is, can mean there are a few more temptations coming our way when it comes to our food and drink choices.
Here are four tips to enjoy your Summer Socials without derailing your health goals.
Meat is considered the main feature of any worthy barbeque. The chicken, burgers, ribs and sausages; it’s the reason most people get excited about barbeques and what some proud or poor soul, depending on how you look at it, slaves over for the entire event.
There are a few risks when it comes to barbequed meat, the most obvious being food poisoning from undercooked meat. Recent studies have linked the prolonged grilling of meat at high temperatures such as on a bbq, to an increased risk of cancer from the chemicals that cooking protein in this way produces.
We can be proactive around this risk by looking at our cooking methods, including pre-cooking meat before finishing it off on the bbq which reduces the amount of time that the meat is on the barbeque. Regularly turning the meat and removing charred pieces before eating are also helpful.
Reducing how much meat you consume too has the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, reduce our saturated fats from meat and conversely encourages us to eat more vegetables and plant based foods, which is always a healthy way to go.
I have been known to take veggie burgers and sausages, tasty sides and salads to barbeques. It’s a slight variation from the beer, wine and snacks that other guests might take and yes, you might get the odd snigger when you first introduce your offerings, but when all is said and done, they go down a treat and add some variety to the typical barbeque fair.
- Get Active
With the warmer temperatures and longer days, summer presents the perfect opportunity to make the socials a little more active. Exploring your own or another city by foot, swimming, hiking, cycling, roller skating or blading through a nice park, and even attending the odd festival with all that dancing and walking are great ways to enjoy the sun, friends and family and stay active.
- Drink Smarter
As a nation, we do like a drink. Since the 1960’s it been part of how we socialise, how we celebrate, how we mourn our losses and with bars now in many trendy offices, how we do business.
We’re all aware of the need to drink responsibility and the potential consequences if we don’t. How many of us think about how we can drink smarter too? There are a few things to keep in mind to get more bang for your units of alcohol.
If you are trying to manage weight, or blood sugar levels, start by being aware of the amount of sugar and calories in your favorite tipple and make healthier choices based on this. For example a pint of 4% beer has the equivalent number of calories, 215 Kcal, as a packet of ready salted McCoys crisps, while a standard 175ml glass of 12% wine has 126 Kcal, the same as a Cadburys mini roll. It’s easy for the calories and well as the alcohol to slowly creep up on us over the course of an evening out. This is particularly true, if we’re adding high sugar energy drinks, fruit juices or colas to the already high sugar alcoholic drink.
Our tendency to eat or crave, salty, fatty, carb heavy foods when we drink has been given a name, the drunchies. Studies have shown that this phenomenon is an actual thing and is another reason to be mindful of how much alcohol we’re taking in.
Some ways to reduce the effects of both a hangover and calories from alcohol include, adding soda water to wine to reduce the sugar content, drinking water in between drinks, sipping slowly, opting for light coloured spirits, which are lower in sugar rather than dark ones, such as white rum and vodka over dark rum and brandy, using tonic or soda water as mixers rather than coke, lemonade, fruit juices and energy drinks and finally as your mother probably warned you, eating a decent meal beforehand.
- Time Out
The social calendar might be jam-packed but the need for downtime isn’t doesn’t decrease with the change of seasons. It’s tempting to say yes, to all the interesting and exciting summer events, however balancing this with regular me-time where you can rest, recharge and recuperate is vital to ensuring that you survive the year looking and feeling great.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and enjoy the sun. Taking the time to read, journal, or just be still and breathe in the outdoors can be great options for taking care of your needs while topping up your vitamin D levels.
Claudine Thornhill, is the owner of Claudine. J. Thornhill Nutrition. She is a Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach who helps her clients feel better, be better and do better by focusing on increasing balance in their bodies and lives. You can find her at www.claudinethornhill.com, Facebook and Instagram.
National Cancer Institute, Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk
Drink Aware, Calories in Alcohol
NHS, Calories in Alcohol;
- Giles; 2015. Why do the Brirish Drink so Much?
University at Buffalo. (2018, August 7). Got the ‘drunchies’? New study shows how heavy drinking affects diet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 6, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180807104300.htm