1. Have a berry good time
There is no better time than summer to introduce berries into your diet- blackberries, blueberries and raspberries have never tasted so good. A punnet of raspberries and blackberries are an excellent source of dietary fibre, a good source of Vitamin C, a source of folate and low in kilojoules. Blackberries are also a good source of Vitamin K. To get the most delicious ones, make sure you choose firm, plump and bright berries!
You can eat them fresh and just as they are, mix them into salads, juices or smoothies. For a protein punch in your berry smoothies, I love to add strawberry or vanilla protein whey powder- you can get some great travel sizes from IsoWhey which you can carry with you on the go! Check out Fresh Berries for more great recipes.
2. Stay hydrated
It is set to be the hottest summer yet, so treat your body accordingly! The age-old rule is two litres of water a day, but with the extra heat and endless outdoor activities that an Australian summer brings, aim for three litres. Many times we confuse thirst with hunger, so listen to your body.
Adding fresh fruit and berries to your water can really liven it up for you and the kids. Adding lemon helps to alkalise the water, and a good pH level is important for you as too much acidity in the body can be inflammatory- not what you need in 40 degree heat!
3. Don’t drink TOO much alcohol
I know this may be a bit of a big ask for this time of the year, but being in an Australian summer, it’s a great opportunity to skip the hard alcohol and choose lighter options.
A sangria, punch or a wine spritzer are all refreshing but light, and soda water is a great mixer that still gives you some ‘fizz’ without the calories.
4. Juice it up
Blending fruits and vegetables is a beautiful summer drink, and also great as frozen ice-blocks for the whole family! My combining vegetables in with a range of delicious summer fruits, you’re getting more vitamins and minerals, as well as balancing out the sugar-level of a purely fruit-based juice.
5. Get fishy
Australia is the biggest island in the world, and offers us a huge range of sustainable, local varieties of fish fresh off the coastline. The Australian Marine Conservation Society recommends wild varieties such as bream, leatherjacket and trevally. Other than supporting local produce, here are some other reasons why you should ‘get fishy’ this summer:
- Crustaceans such as lobster and crab offer protein, iron, and are both low in kilojoules and have virtually no fat.
- Prawns are a great source of protein, calcium, iodine, vitamin E and selenium.
- Oysters have more iron than beef, and are one of the richest known sources of zinc which helps your immune function.
- Tuna is full of protein and low in fat. If you’re opting for canned tuna, remember to check what they are packaged in- you can get water, brine, oil or other varieties.
- Anchovies are little fish that are full of flavour and vitamin B3. These can be salty little things, so soaking them in a little milk for 10 minutes can help reduce their salt content.
- White fish has a much as or more protein as red meat, and much less fat. King George whiting, flathead and snapper are all beautiful options and good sources of omega-3s.
- Pink fish such as salmon and ocean trout is all-class for omega-3s. 100g of canned salmon offers as much calcium as a glass of milk- so don’t miss the soft bones in there!
- Octopus and calamari are great sources of protein, but only count as low in kilojoule and fat if they’re not crumbed or fried!
- Mussels are an excellent source of omega-3s, feature a low fat content and have 3-4 times as much iron as red meat.
6. Keep it fresh
When there are a million things to do and a million mouths to feed, takeaway meals can seem like the perfect answer. When you can though, keep it fresh and prepare something at home so you avoid any hidden ingredients that could lead to unwanted calories, poor sleep or give you a sluggish start the next morning.
7. Summer desserts
Substitute your ice-cream treat for some homemade sorbet, fresh or frozen fruit. Try blending frozen fruits with a little Oat & Almond or Soy & Almond milk for a creamy sorbet texture with loads of nutritional value and a flavour that is sure to hit your sweet spot!
8. Bring healthy options to the table
Whether you are entertaining at your place or attending something with friends or families, there is always the option to act as a good guest/host and bring something along- so make it healthy. A range of dips with vegetable sticks or wholegrain crackers and pita bread or a beautiful salad are always well received, and will stop you from picking at other high calorie/fat options as the only resort. Try to fill yourself up on vegetables and greens first too.
9. Pay attention to portions
Food will be plentiful, and there will be some incredible options that will make you want to try everything. Of course, this is a time to celebrate and enjoy yourself with family and friends so it is fine to treat yourself and embrace the fresh food and flavours, but just don’t go TOO crazy.
A few rules of thumb for watching your portions:
– A tennis ball or your clenched fist: This should be about the total size you aim for starchy sides like potato, pasta and bean salads.
– Your mobile phone or a deck of cards: This should be your measure for steak, chicken and fish.
– Your thumb: About a tablespoon is what you should estimate dressings and spreads at. Try and reduce the amount of creamy dressings and sauces where you can also.
I agree, on a 40-degree day sometimes all you want to do is sit in a pool (lathered in sunscreen!) or directly under the air conditioner. It is really important to stay active during the summer months though (as sticky and sweaty as it might seem). Aiming your workouts for early in the morning before the heat really sets in is a great option. Early sessions will also make sure you don’t put it off until the next, and then the next day, it will boost your energy levels for the whole day, and will ensure you don’t dehydrate as much as you would during a mid-day work out.