Let’s start getting ready for the summer: foods to avoid, and foods to choose.

Summer is approaching and it’s time to prepare properly! In this period, it’s important not only to intensify our exercise regimen, but to improve the quality of the ingredients we bring to the table.

First and foremost, hydration is essential for eliminating excess liquids and reducing swelling. So hydrate, but make sure you’re getting your supply of minerals, especially if you’re athletic and suffer from low blood pressure. This is why it’s important to get these minerals from natural sources: e.g., coconut water, which, thanks to its composition, is considered a true natural supplement. It’s suitable for everyone and contains the five essential electrolytes that should be replenished regularly: sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.

‘Yes’ foods

Look for foods that are highly satiating but with a low caloric density. Among the cereals, I recommend wholegrain pasta and rice flavored with light accompaniments such as seasonal vegetables. Legumes should not be forgotten, and in fact they’re great in summery salads or as a topping for a first course. Instead of pasta or potato salads, I always recommend vegetable salads with the addition of legumes or fresh cheeses, or whole grain salads like barley, spelt or quinoa with vegetables and avocado.

‘No’ foods

Totally avoid foods rich in fats and cholesterol, even if cheeses and sausages are undeniably convenient in hot weather. And don’t overdo it with fruit juices and soft drinks, which provide lots of empty calories without satisfying your hunger.  Be careful not to get carried away with fruit: the summer season offers countless tasty types, but they’re still a major source of sugar.

Summer is often synonymous with dining out. But be careful, because restaurant dinners and aperitifs can be insidious when we’re trying to detox.

In restaurants, even the lightest meals often contain added salts and sugars, with an even higher content in condiments, which together contribute to weight gain. If you get together frequently with friends, it’s a good idea to invite them to your own home, so you can be in charge of the menu.

Alcohol can also be more readily available in the summer, whether it’s a fresh cocktail or a beer with friends. Any kind of alcohol, especially spirits, contains a lot of calories and affects the increase in fat in the abdominal area. Be careful not to exaggerate: a glass of wine or two per week is ok.

Francesca Oggionni Dietician

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