In our country, home of the Mediterranean diet, we no longer eat like our grandparents did. On the one hand it is fortunate, because we have forgotten what hunger is, but on the other we are a population generally at risk of excess weight, with very high percentages for each age group. One in two adults and one in three children weigh too much.
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The reasons are many but we can summarize them in two groups: an enormous availability of food very rich in calories to be consumed without struggling to obtain it and a growing sedentary lifestyle. But summer can be a good time to change our lifestyle, because unfortunately the swimsuit test counts more than the blood sugar response. We learn to build a healthier lifestyle, hoping to maintain it in the following months as well. In fact, there is evidence – which we have also reported in the latest Guidelines for healthy eating – that the gradual habit of better behaviors and the regaining or maintaining a correct weight then allows it to be maintained over time.
The heat and your favorite dishes
The first stimulus comes from the heat: we have less desire for dishes rich in fat, too elaborate, and we are more attracted to fresh, cold and light dishes such as fruit and vegetables. Which, among the many advantages, contain a large amount of water and fiber which makes them pleasant to chew and refreshing. Water, fiber and consistency contribute, thanks to the great heat, to greater satiety. Fresh vegetables such as various types of salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, are happy to host some protein sources such as legumes, fresh cheese, preserved fish, white meat, or eggs. Or to be a light but complete meal when accompanied by a little bread and fruit.
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The good weather and the longer days can tempt us to a minimum of physical activity especially on vacation, such as long walks in the mountains and a few more strokes of swimming in the sea, but better if you dedicate yourself to more demanding activities, perhaps playful, which ensure better compliance. Those who stay in the city can do physical activity in some city park.
Pay attention to meal times
Summer, however, also exposes you to some pitfalls: one of the bad habits is to have made dinner the main meal of the day and to have moved the time further and further, eroding the hours needed for sleep. Dinners with friends, if on the one hand they favor the recommended conviviality, on the other hand they expose to the risk of exceeding some grilled too much, especially if made up of foods rich in fat and salt, of being late and consuming plenty of alcoholic beverages, often also used only to quench your thirst, while it would be advisable not to consume them or do it in very low quantities, especially when it is hot.
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However, it takes very little to improve eating habits: taking the time for a hearty breakfast, with milk / yogurt, fruit and baked goods and a greater consumption of plant products such as fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains that are able to provide many important nutrients in very few calories. Remembering that there is no food in itself harmful to health and to the figure.