Summer’s here and you’re counting the days to that long-awaited break. You want to relax, have fun – and, above all, stay well.
Here are some top tips from our nutrition and fitness experts to help you and your family enjoy a healthy, happy summer.
We all know that prevention is better than cure, and a bit of forward planning and a few basic precautions can reduce the risk of your holiday being spoilt by food poisoning, sunburn or worse.
Whether you’re travelling abroad or staying at home this summer, keep these simple but effective tips on hand as a reminder to take extra care in the sun.
- If you’re holidaying abroad, make sure you know what jabs you need and organise these in plenty of time before you leave.
- When in an unfamiliar country, be cautious about tap water – buy bottled water, don’t have ice in drinks, and avoid salads and other foods washed in tap water.
- It’s vital to protect your skin in the sun – wear loose clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Apply plenty of sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapply every two hours or after a swim.
- Apply insect repellent over your sunscreen to reduce the risk of bites.
- To avoid becoming dehydrated, limit your intake of alcohol, coffee and salty foods, and drink plenty of water.
- The sun’s heat is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm – seek shade or stay indoors during these times.
Healthy summer eating
Eating outdoors can be fun and refreshing, but think about how you store your picnic foods to keep tummy bugs at bay, warns dietitian Azmina Govindji. “In hot weather, food poisoning bacteria can multiply very quickly, so keep your cold foods chilled in a cool bag with ice,” she advises.
Here are some more tips from Azmina to reduce the risk of food poisoning, dehydration and other health problems associated with summer eating:
- When you’re barbecuing, the biggest risk of food poisoning is from raw and undercooked meat – make sure your sausages and burgers are cooked all the way through and piping hot.
- Remember to wash your summer salads before you tuck in.
- If you’re eating outdoors, keep food covered as much as possible.
- In very hot weather, you may not feel like eating much, but make sure you do drink lots of water. You lose water through perspiration and you can become dehydrated very quickly without realising it.
- You’re more likely to enhance your summer complexion and sense of vitality if you eat a variety of healthy foods – go for a rainbow of natural colours on your plate.