Summer Solstice is fast approaching, and it is lovely to have the longer days keeping us all outdoors in our gardens, walking in our neighbourhoods, enjoying deck and patio spaces we have created.
Summer is the time I tend to put on weight if I am not on my ‘A’ game, so to speak. Some folks tell me it is the opposite for them, Christmastime is when they tend to put on a few pounds, but for me and maybe for you, you enjoy one more beer or glass of wine than usual out on your deck, eat “fun” foods camping and fall down on healthy food prep because you are enjoying the beautiful weather and cooking is the farthest thing from your mind! Here are a few tips to help you stay on your ‘A’ game.
Cooking bees are really fun. Seasonally, I spend a few days hosting or partaking in a cooking bee. I get together with friends and/or family and we spend hours in the kitchen together making time consuming food to pop into the freezer for the summer nights you cannot be bothered to cook.
Often it is food that does not require an oven because, if you do not have air conditioning like my family and I, the last thing we want to do is put our oven on. Instead, it is things that heat up nicely in a crock pot, stove top or on a barbecue. We make pot stickers, casseroles, soups and sauces that we pair with fresh fruit and veggies. We have found that having dinner made even for just one night a week has made all the difference in staying on track with healthier eating. Cooking is a beautiful way to bring family and friends together and when you enjoy the food later it brings back those memories as well.
Stay hydrated. I have talked about the importance of drinking water in the past, however, it becomes highly important in hot weather and when you indulge in alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates your system as your body works overtime to rid you of the toxin.
Pair it with a sunny patio and dehydration has its perfect setting. Enjoying a glass of water with every beverage and taking small breaks from gardening to drink water will help immensely with keeping you properly hydrated. Staying hydrated helps your body stay working properly which allows it to break down fats and proteins efficiently and also keeps the calories down as you tend to drink less beverages when you match it drink for drink with water.
Keep on track with your health and fitness goals by joining or taking a class. I have also found that routines can go off track for me in the summer. More time off equates with a missed run, walk or a workout that I normally would not miss.
Joining a fitness program seems challenging in the summer months because you do not know when you will have the time to fit it in. However, a lot of fitness centres offer cooler temperatures and flexible passes so that getting in your workouts is far easier and the number of excuses for missing become smaller. Joining a class also provides an opportunity to make a new friend and find a new type of fitness you enjoy.
Here is one of my favourite pot stickers recipes: www.101cookbooks.com/archives/golden-pot stickers-recipe.html. It is a vegetarian/vegan recipe, however you can try a more traditional filling of pork, ginger and green onion should you desire. My family and I find these light and delicious, even my kids love them!
Heidi, who writes the 101 cookbooks blog, has so many yummy recipes on her site as well and she organizes them beautifully too, so it is easy to look for something specific. I often search by category when I have too much of something that needs to be used up. I hope you love her site as much as I do.
Happy summer solstice, Chemainus!
(Nicole Cournoyer is a Chemainus resident and Misfits Fitness Studio and Health Bar owner/operator).