Summer is a time when we do not want to feel deprived, but also want to maintain good diabetes control. Aim for balance. If you eat too little protein or carbohydrates, you will be guaranteed to have unhealthy cravings and significant fluctuations in blood glucose. To avoid blood glucose extremes, reduce cravings and maintain energy, include a source of protein and carbohydrate with each meal. For protein, consider an egg, a handful of nuts, a slice of fat-reduced cheese, or a few ounces of lean meat or fish. Balance out your meal with whole grain carbs (whole wheat pasta, brown rice) instead of the refined white versions. Add legumes like kidney beans and chickpeas to your meals whenever you can. Try a cold bean salad instead of a calorie-laden creamy potato or macaroni salad. Legumes contain both carbohydrates and protein that help stabilize blood glucose levels.
Make regular meals a priority in your summer schedule. Eating regularly throughout the day (at least every three to four hours) helps maintain even blood glucose levels, keeping you energized so you can fully enjoy busy summer days.
Dining out may seem like a treat at the start of your holiday. Still, the novelty may wear off quickly as you consume the increased amounts of extra fat, sodium and carbs in most restaurant meals. Need some ordering tips?
A better option to save your health (and money!) is to prepare simple meals away from home. Have fun exploring local farmers’ markets for healthy choices (freshly picked produce, whole grain breads and buns) as part of your sightseeing plan. Check out the grocery store at your travel destination for interesting ingredients to create simple, healthy meals that you may not have back at home. Purchase no-sugar added yogurt, fruit and low-fat granola for quick breakfast parfaits. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas or pitas and bagged salad, lean sliced meat and fat-reduced cheese for healthy lunch wraps.
Create a family ‘dashboard-dining’ picnic. Pack a variety of finger foods like fat-reduced cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, no-sugar added yogurt or pudding cups, raw vegetable sticks, and fruit. Think grapes, carrots and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, and apples. Fruits are the perfect portable snack, already packaged in their own skin and ready to go. Find some roadside fruit and vegetable stands and you are ready for the day!
Grilling is a great way to keep your healthy eating goals on track. Keep calories to a minimum by barbequing lean beef, skinless chicken or salmon. For healthier burgers, try ground turkey, Portobello mushrooms, or take a walk on the wild side with a lean bison burger. Serve mixed vegetable kebabs or slow-roast some sweet potatoes in foil. With so many fantastic grilling options, limit high-fat hot dogs and pre-made frozen burger patties to kids’ parties or sports windups.
The season is short, so be sure to enjoy as much local produce as possible. Fresh vegetables and fruits are loaded with a winning combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre. Fruits and vegetables also have the bonus of being low in fat and calories. Offer to bring a green salad, fruit salad or vegetable tray to gatherings to ensure abundant healthy options when socializing. Focus on enjoying local strawberries. Once they are finished, enjoy new green beans along with raspberries and early tomatoes. Freeze some local treasures like berries for use in late fall and winter, when the harvest is a distant memory.
If every hot sunny day includes gelato or an iced cappuccino, it adds up. Still, it is hard to pass up these refreshing, cool treats. A treat budget can help. Instead of depriving yourself, limit higher-calorie treats to twice a week. When choosing a sweet fix, remember lighter options like low-fat frozen yogurt and ice milk frozen desserts. A fruit smoothie or Indian lassi made with fat-reduced yogurt and mangoes or seasonal fresh berries and fruits are other tasty choices. If you can’t resist a hot fudge sundae or banana split, choose the smallest size. Better yet – share the splurge!
Long daylight hours often set the stage for late night socializing, snacking and consuming high-calorie alcoholic beverages. Just one or two drinks an evening on the deck can add significant calories and unwanted pounds over the summer months. These calories quickly add up, especially if paired with nachos, potato chips or nuts. Instead, enjoy a wine spritzer with a slice of lemon (half wine and half soda water), or a de-alcoholised or light beer. Pair mineral water with a refreshing slice of citrus fruit, and limit the snacks.
There is nothing like an early morning walk, a dip in the pool or a bike ride through the park to jump-start your vacation day. Summer is short, so be sure to maximize outdoor fitness and fun. You will not have regrets when the autumn leaves start to fall.
For more information on healthy eating, download a free copy of Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide from Health Canada’s website or call 1-800 O-CANADA.