Here, deep in the true Heart of Texas in August, it’s downright hot. The trick to making it through our long hot summers is to eat light, drink right, and exercise sensibly.
By preparing nutritious salads and cold plates, you don’t have to turn on the oven or microwave! Most summer salads last for days so you can prepare them ahead of time in large batches, adding beds of greens and tasty dressings upon serving.
Here are some tips to making delicious salads and cold plates that are full of nutrition:
Add chopped celery, bell peppers and red onions to boost the nutrition in vegetable-based salads and cold plates, especially to potato and pasta salads.
Other good veggies to add include are broccoli, carrots, cucumber, and avocado. Chilled hardboiled eggs, lightly steamed red potatoes and light cheeses add some heft.
Previously barbequed or grilled meats like chicken, lean pork, or fish can add extra protein.
For a special treat, quick-steam large raw shrimp and asparagus and make a red sauce dip for the shrimp and lemon-mayo for the asparagus.
Seasonal fruits add much needed water to your diet, especially watermelons and other melons, grapes and pineapple. Add yogurt or cottage cheese to put fruit salads over the top.
It’s easy to get dehydrated in deep summer so drink lots of water throughout the day. Add lemon, lime or mint to a glass of ice water, iced tea, or club soda to turn water into a special, more refreshing treat. And be aware of your source for drinking water. RO water (treated by reverse osmosis) is a healthy option in our area.
“Caffeine dehydrates you.”
FALSE. In times past, we were cautioned that caffeine-containing beverages cause dehydration. That turns out not to be true. According to the Mayo Clinic and in many recent studies have shown that drinking caffeinated beverages, in moderation, as part of a normal lifestyle does not cause fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested. Caffeine can still be harmful though if you’re a heart patient, so mind your doctor’s orders.
“Beer is like drinking water.”
FALSE. Drinking beer actually promotes dehydration, as does any alcohol. Because alcohol increases urine production, your body begins to eliminate more liquid than you’re taking in. Drink alcohol in moderation, especially in deep summer.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after engaging in vigorous or even mild exercise or physical chores.
- Encourage children in your care to drink extra fluids throughout the day too and especially during play time.
- Schedule your outdoor exercises early in the morning or near sundown to avoid the Texas summer heat.
- Take salt tablets if a doctor recommends it. Otherwise there’s already plenty of salt in a normal diet.
- Stop working, playing or exercising outdoors if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or fatigued. Seek shade or air-conditioning, relax, and take in fluids.
Swimming is the best all-round summer exercise
Cardiologists and primary care physicians agree that swimming is an excellent exercise for all muscle groups (especially the heart), for flexibility, and for stress management. Playing and dabbling in a pool or at the lake is refreshing, but swimming laps for 30 minutes or more is even better.
Note the featured image at the start of this August blog. That’s our beautiful Brady Lake. Swimming in Brady Lake just under the damn is what summer’s all about. And free! And there’s the new pool at Richard’s Park, plus we have a number of private pools in the area, so check around for pool parties.
Whether in a lake or pool, a recommended swim routine for all ages is mixed laps, concentrating on efficient strokes and full rhythmic breathing. As a metric to get you started, here’s a routine that takes an average of 10 minutes per set in a 50 foot long pool:
- 1 length down doing the breast stroke
- Turn on your back and return with elementary backstroke
- 1 length left side down sidestroke
- Return, sidestroke, right side down
- Repeat the breaststroke/backstroke sequence
- 1 length front crawl
- Return doing the back crawl
- Repeat sidestroke sequence, facing the opposite direction
That’s 10 lengths per set. Three sets is a minimum goal; five or more is ideal.
The best time to swim during deep summer is in the morning when pools and lakes are cooler and the sun is more forgiving. But there’s nothing like an evening swim at the end of a hot day, or during a full moon night.
From all of us at City Drug, have a healthy, happy and fun August and… stay cool!