Surviving the temptations of summer

Woman On Beach

Swimsuit season. The bikini body. Beach-ready. In the countdown to summer, we’re surrounded by messages encouraging us to shape up and get healthy for the season.

But when summer hits, it’s tempting to reverse the hard work we put in. Between sugary cocktails by the pool, ice cream on the boardwalk and late-night snacking after long days under the sun, we can feel more like beached whales than beach babes.

Our nutritionist wants you to stay healthy while still enjoying the bounty of summertime. Below, she has some simple swaps and tips to help you thrive in the warmest months.

Give your body an antioxidant boost. We all know we should wear sunscreen and avoid the sun at its peak. But we can also make our skin look healthier from the inside. Eating seasonal fruits and veggies will supply antioxidants, fighting the skin-ageing free radicals produced by sun exposure. Tomatoes and peppers in particular contain loads of lycopene, which is thought to protect against sunburn. In addition, a study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics found that higher skin lycopene levels were associated with smoother skin. Add plenty of tomatoes, peppers and fruits such as watermelon, apricots, pink grapefruits and guavas to your diet.

Stay hydrated. In summer, our bodies need more water to prevent dehydration from high temperatures and scorching sun. But don’t turn to juices, soda and alcohol for your fluid intake!

Instead, add sliced cucumber, citrus, or strawberries with mint to your plain water for a more fun and refreshing drink. Replace that piña colada with deeply hydrating coconut water, which contains electrolytes to get your body back in balance after a day in the sun.

Keep meals consistent.  Even if your appetite wanes as the temperatures rise, don’t skip meals. The resulting cravings may drive you to the beach shack in search of fried or sugary snacks. Always carry with you a protein-rich and healthy-fats snack such as nuts or hummus to fend off a sudden onset of hunger.

Take care of your gut: Many of summer’s bad habits can directly impact your microbiome, the microorganisms that live in your digestive tract and help promote digestion, reduce inflammation and even steady your mood. Feed your good gut flora by adding fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir or miso to your diet. One delicious option is coconut kefir, a lactose-free version made from coconut water fermented with kefir grains. Feel free to drink it out of a coconut with a straw and umbrella for the full summertime experience!

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