Summer is full of reasons to celebrate, but for Canadians, this July 1st is extra special, marking our 150th birthday!
No one wants to be ‘that guy’ or ‘that girl’ sipping on soda water and noshing on celery sticks while everyone around him or her are celebrating with beer, coolers, nachos, and other belly busting summer fare.
Here are our top 5 tips by our Registered Dietitian (RD), Lisa Cianfrini, to Celebrating Canada Day while keeping your health and fitness goals in check:
1. Pre-drink – and eat!
Before heading out for celebrations, be sure to hydrate your body with adequate water, which will lessen the likelihood of slugging back the first beverage put in your hand. Eating a healthy meal (think veggies, healthy protein, and a high-fibre starch) before you head out will also help you resist the chip bowl, or at least stop you from overeating them!
Bonus Item: load up on cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), which help our livers in metabolizing things like alcohol and cancer-forming compounds found in BBQed meats.
Canada offers endless opportunities for hiking, running, biking, swimming, canoeing and other calorie-blasting outdoor activities. Whether you’re staying in the city or heading to the cottage, plan for some active exploration in your days.
Looking to take it up a notch? Get a healthy dose of wilderness for mental health. Research shows that being in nature helps in reducing stress and anxiety and may help lessen depression.
3. Fill up on the good stuff.
Load your plate with veggies and salad at BBQs. If you’re not sure whether there will be any veggies offered, bring some with you! For dessert, choose fresh berries (local strawberries are in season right now) or other fruit.
4. Choose your beverages wisely.
Typical summer coolers can pack 30-40 grams of sugar per serving, which is equal to about 8-10 teaspoons of maple syrup! Although Caesars are made with ‘vegetables’ they too have about 20-30 grams of sugar per serving, along with over 500 mg of sodium (or about 1/3 of your daily need).
Here are some healthier options:
- Soda water with fresh strawberries and basil
- Caesar with only ½ cup Clamato juice, extra lime and horseradish, no salt rim and a sprig of celery
- Tequila or vodka with soda and fresh lime juice (not ‘bar lime’ which can be high in sugar)
Always alternate between one alcoholic beverage to one to two glasses of water to stay hydrated.
5. Focus on local and Canadian fresh foods!
Local foods not only taste better, can be better for the environment, are usually less expensive, but also offer superior nutritional value as they were likely recently picked. Head out strawberry picking. Go to your local farmer’s market and pick up local tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, asparagus, and lettuce.
Here are a few of our favourites for a healthier Canada Day menu:
Starter: Choose local greens and top them with fresh strawberries, chopped walnuts, local goat cheese, fresh basil and a drizzle of high-quality balsamic vinegar.
Main: What’s more Canadian than Maple Cedar-Planked Salmon? Try out this recipe: http://www.canadianliving.com/food/recipe/cedar-planked-salmon-with-maple-mustard-glaze
Pair this with baked sweet potato (wrap them in tin foil and toss them on the grill for 35-40 minutes, then sprinkle with cinnamon) and grilled local asparagus.
We love adding flavor without a lot of fat by using small amounts of prosciutto, and this recipe has amazing presentation: https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/recipes/grilled-prosciutto-and-asparagus-bundles
Here is another great recipe with salmon and asparagus: http://www.cookspiration.com/recipe.aspx?perma=D1260DF5DB0&g=11
For dessert, try something different, like grilled fruit! This grilled strawberry recipe is simple and yummy: https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/recipes/grilled-ontario-strawberries
Serve these with plain Greek yogurt, mixed with a teaspoon of maple syrup.
Happy birthday Canada!