With the summer season now in full flow, some more favourable weather on the way and our freedoms promised, what better time to fully enjoy the great outdoors? You will be bagging some great health benefits too from spending time outside in the sunshine and fresh air.
When heading out for the day, what you pack to keep you feeling energised all day long is important to ensure you are able to make the most of your day trip.
This Love Parks Week Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares her top nutrition tips to help you fully enjoy your day in the fresh air!
Boost your nutrients
If you are out all day and possibly enjoying some hiking or physical activity, then the body is certainly going to need some decent fuel in the middle of the day. Each mealtime is an opportunity to load up on valuable nutrients the body needs daily, as well as filling up the tank with energy.
Clearly everything needs to be easily transportable therefore wholemeal wraps loaded with protein and vegetables is one of the best options. It is important to eat protein at every mealtime to balance blood sugar levels and keep energy sustained throughout the day. Great choices for wraps include chicken, tuna, chickpeas, or grilled halloumi cheese.
All choices work really well with some roasted vegetables (prepared the night before) and pesto. The wrap (ideally wholemeal) will deliver plenty of energising B-vitamins (as will the filling) plus it is a great way of topping up your vegetable intake.
Another great option is smashed avocado with salad or roasted vegetables. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats that are needed to absorb our fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E), all of which are required for the immune system. Avocados also contain some protein, plus vitamin E which is great for the skin. So, be sure to make lunch count so energy levels are not flagging a couple of hours later.
Snacks to keep you walking smart
If you are walking or hiking, then you will need to keep energy levels topped up throughout the day, not just at lunchtime. Great transportable and energising snacks include cashew nuts (a higher carb nut), raisins (for a quick energy shot) and bananas (the perfect pre-wrapped snack!)
Why not make some delicious flapjacks the day before full of protein and energising carbs too? If you make them with agave syrup, porridge oats, raisins, hazelnuts and mixed seeds, you can fully enjoy a perfect, energy-boosting and nutritious snack.
Other great snacks include olives which contain plenty of healthy fats to hold off hunger pangs or some veggie crisps (healthier than the ‘normal’ potato variety!)
Let us not forget the most important thing to pack – plenty of water to keep you hydrated. You won’t be walking very far if you are dehydrated. It is important to keep ahead of thirst; when you feel thirsty the body is already slightly dehydrated so top up regularly. On a ‘normal’ day it’s recommended to drink 1 ½ to 2 litres of water daily. However, strenuous walking uses up a lot more water in the body, so aim to drink at least 300 ml for every hour you plan on being active.
Whilst having large quantities of sports drinks is not needed and will only increase daily sugar intake, the body is not pure water. The body contains electrolytes that need replenishing especially when the weather is hot. So, it’s a good idea to add an electrolyte powder to your water which you can sip throughout the day. Additionally, having one of your water bottles very slightly diluted with fruit juice will help the body rehydrate quicker.
Sun cream and a sun hat are essential items! Even when it’s cloudy, the sun’s UV rays penetrate and can cause a nasty case of sunburn if precautions aren’t taken.
It’s worth also noting that if you’re taking a daily multivitamin that contains beta-carotene, this does provide some protection against sun damage but not sufficient to avoid wearing sun cream. However, it does help protect the skin against free-radical damage caused by the sun and will hold back the ageing process.
So, with the combination of rejuvenating fresh air, beautiful countryside parklands, and nutritious food, you can guarantee a great day out!
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