21 Jul 3 Simple Nutrition Tips to Keep Your Energy Up and Your Stress Down This Summer
It is officially that time of year, summer has not only here but is in full swing! Our calendars have become packed with BBQs, play dates, kids camp, and family vacations. While summer is arguably the “fan favorite” when it comes to the four seasons, I find that for most people summer can be just as stressful and exhausting, if not more, than the holidays! With all the extra demands on our schedule it can be tough to truly enjoy the season, let alone stay dedicated to any kind of a health plan. As a Clinical Nutritionist, I find that more of my clients get “derailed” during the summer months than any other time of year. It doesn’t have to be this way though. With these 3 tips you can help your body thrive the rest of the season by defending against the internal and external stress of summer and keeping your energy high!
1) Stock Up on Healthy Frozen Foods
Ever notice that your body is constantly trying to stay in balance? When it’s cold we crave warm soups and stews and when it’s hot we end up longing for iced coffees and frozen yogurt. This doesn’t happen by coincidence, the body is always looking for a middle ground. If you’re not prepared it can be easy to find yourself overindulging on frozen treats that are high in sugar, which can really cause excess stress inside the body and as the sugar wears off it’ll take your energy with it. This is why I always recommend to keep a couple packets of pure acai smoothie pouches on hand along with some frozen berries. You can make your own healthy frozen yogurt by combining these with some coconut milk, honey and a dash of vanilla extract in your blender. The antioxidants in the berries will zap oxidative stress in the body while boosting your energy levels.
2) Eat (or Drink) Lots of Dark Leafy Greens
Eating 2 servings of greens a day is the single best way to detoxify the body and boost your mood! Because they are so rich in fiber, they help to promote a healthy digestion, which in turn supports a healthy weight and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Leafy greens are also an excellent source of folate, which contributes to the production of serotonin. Serotonin is our “feel good” hormone and helps us feel happy and energized while warding off depression. No doubt though, salads can get old and unappealing quickly, but with this Nicoise salad recipe you can keep thing interesting and delicious, while breaking free of the traditional “lettuce mold”.
3) Eat the Right Kinds of Snacks Every 3 Hours
Summer is definitely the season to “go-go-go” and all too often I have clients tell me it’s normal for them to be on the move all day with nothing more in their bellies than a couple bites of a sandwich or handful of chips. By keeping snacks on hand and learning to eat small meals every 3 hours you can keep your energy high and your cortisol levels low. An easy snack idea is to simply mix together a variety of raw nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds and add some dried mulberries. Mulberries have been shown to help relax the nervous system and calm the body. Throw the mixture into a mason jar to help keep it fresh throughout the week. You’ll never go hungry again!
So often when we think about stress we think about what’s happening around us and not what’s happening within us. Try to remember this summer that diet plays a key role not only in boosting our energy and helping us to become more resilient to outside stressors but also in helping us defend against stress and inflammation inside our bodies.
Wishing you a happy and healthy rest of the summer!