Summer Time Tips for the Waistline

The summer, and the school holidays are fast approaching and parents across the UK will be working hard to make sure that their kids are few, watered and entertained through the long summer break. A list of suggestions has been compiled by the British Diabetic association to advise parents and to make sure that children don’t put weight on during the holidays.

Anna Raymond, a spokeswoman for the BDA says that parents need to remember that it is a fallacy that kids eat more through the dark winter months and they need to ensure that during the summer they aren’t filling up on junk or convenience foods. She says that there is a lot of socialising during the summers months, be it dinner parties, barbecues or days out.

She says that many parents strive to lose weight before their holidays, but once away go wild, and tend to feed their children the same way. Making informed choices and making or buying healthy and nutritious meals is the best way to go for all the family, and none of them will come heavier than they were when they went.

Be Aware:

Barbecues – When you think of barbecues, more often than not you jump to burgers and sausages, washed down with a few beers with the friends (for adults only of course).  These are very high in fat and therefore calories.  It’s also difficult to control your portion sizes as we tend to keep going back for more, hence extra calories consumed!

Picnics – Picnics tend to hide a lot of high calorie food.  Potato salad, coleslaw and pasta salad may sound nice and fresh, but these mayo-laden foods can be very calorific and high in fat content, especially if bought from the supermarket.  The famous sausage rolls and other pastry-type foods are also very popular in picnics.  Again, these can very high in  trans-fat and calories.  Why not go for a healthier picnic option?  (see below)

Festivals / Theme Parks – Summer festivals and trips to theme parks prove to be very popular at this time of year.  A lot of the time, food available at these venues can be the usual burger and chips-type food.  They may be fast and easy, but they can also do some damage to your waistline.  Why not take your own food?

Why Not?:

Barbecues – Make sure your guests can pack out their plates with lots of fresh salads.  To keep the calorie counter in check, why not choose lean cuts of meat, like turkey and chicken, ensuring it is cooked through properly.  Try to limit your portions to just one plate and fill up with salad rather than lots of bread.  Instead of drinking excessive amounts of beer, why not alternate each alcholhic drink with a glass of water and perhaps go for small measures of spirits with low calorie mixers – making sure you don’t overdo it!  

Picnics – If you do like you potato salads and other mayo-based salads, why not make your own or at least use far less mayo or a reduced in fat mayo substitute.  Or, why not use yogurt instead?  In place of the pastry-based snacks, why not take some lean meats, as well as a lovely selection of seasonal fruit and vegetable crudités?                                                                                                                    

Ice Lollies – A really easy, healthy and cheap version of the ice lolly, to keep you cool in the sun, is to simply freeze unsweetened fruit juice at home in your freezer.  No one will ever complain about this great treat!

Summer Salads – With the UK getting its fair share of rainy weather and cold snaps, summer time should be the time of year that your salad bowls get a good workout.  Take the opportunity to chow down on the seasonal salad offerings available, maybe with a nice portion of oily fish to compliment?

Exercise – The summer is the ideal time to take part in a bit of exercise.  When you go on your picnics or days out to the park, why not take a ball with you and have some fun with the family?

Tips:

Eat a Rainbow – Not an absolute science, but choose ingredients to your meal with as many colours as possible.  The more colourful the better (But, importantly, the colour of the food must be in its natural state i.e. no food colorants added).  In a nutshell, the majority of ‘rainbow’ foods will be fruit and vegetables.

Less is More – When we go on picnics, take food with us on days out and invite friends around to a barbecue, we tend to buy, cook and eat way too much food.  Think about portion sizes and question do you really need so much food.