The introduction of summer comes with numerous pressures. For many people, the words “summer” and “healthy eating” do not match up. For others, such combinations of words bring up feelings of anxiety over summer bodies, fitting into teeny-tiny bikinis, and dieting. Before setting a goal for the umpteenth time to lose 10 pounds before that summer vacation, give this alternative perspective just 5 minutes of your time.
We live in an appearance obsessed society where the media pressures us to have a one size fits all mentality. Did you know 80% of your weight is determined by genetics? Someone who wears a size 10 shoe cannot fit into a size 6 – it’s just as pointless to expect your body size to do the same. Give yourself the praise you deserve; next time you slip into your favorite swimsuit, remember that your body is uniquely you and uniquely beautiful.
2. Enjoy new foods thoughtfully
Eating healthy does not mean restricting yourself from enjoying all the tasty foods found during summer vacations, barbecues, and gatherings. There is a phenomenon called sensory specific satiety, and it plays a role in why new foods taste so good. New foods tend to be more pleasurable to consume and increase our appetite as compared to foods that we eat all the time. Eat all foods (especially new foods) thoughtfully, enjoying each bite.
3. Be kind to yourself
No one meal, day, or even week on vacation will ruin your attempts to follow healthy habits. If you have a lapse in your eating, don’t let it lead to a total collapse. A healthy lifestyle is not all or nothing – it is a continuum, and the important thing to keep in mind is the big picture. Regardless of your goals for health or weight, you still deserve to enjoy life and eating.
4. Internal Cues: Your strongest tool to healthy eating
Clients often tell us that diets are hard in the summer, because they do not have control over what they are eating when they are away from home. One tool you always have with you, no matter the food, is your own body’s cues of hunger and satiety. Before you start eating, take a second to consider how hungry you are – are you meal or snack hungry, or do you even need to eat at all? Before you finish eating, take a mindful moment to feel your fullness. Respect that.
5. Fill half your plate with seasonal fruits and vegetables
It’s never a bad idea to go for a little extra fruits and veggies to fuel your body, and they taste great in the summer. If you are eating out on vacation, choose veggies as your side. Bring a salad full of colorful veggies or cut up fruit to a picnic or barbecue. Fill half your plate with the fruits and veggies, and then fill the other half with your favorite summer eats and treats.
In-season fruits and vegetables
Fort Collins has a great selection of fruits and vegetables that can be found at local farmers’ markets. In the box below you will find some of the in-season fruits and vegetables grown in local farms in Fort Collins in the month of May:
- Summer Squash
- Sugar Snap Peas
Buying in-season fruits and vegetables is a good idea because locally grown produce is better for the environment, it tastes fresher, and there is more variety than you might find in a supermarket. It is an opportunity to get creative and try new recipes.