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Opinion

Healthy food options available for the summer

Brittney Pfenning­-Wendt

March 23, 2012

With summer weather in spring, it’s prime time for outdoor activities. The bike racks are filling up outside of residence halls, and more and more people are choosing outside paths over the gym for running. Biking, walking, running, rollerblading and outdoor sports are a great way to stay active, boost endorphin levels, and enjoy this great weather.

However, when exercising or playing a sport outside, it’s important to keep some things in mind to ensure a safe transition from indoor exercising or a more sedentary winter. Staying hydrated and maintaining a good balance of energizing food is crucial when spending a lot of time doing outdoor activities.

Having the sun beating down on you can do more than give you a sun burn when exposed for lengthy amounts of time. As your body is heated by the combined effects of the sun and exercising it produces sweat in order to cool down. As this sweat is produced you lose water, leading to dehydration if you’re not careful.

Take the precautions to remain well hydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine, men should be taking in about three liters (or 13 cups) while women should drink about two and two tenths liters (or nine cups) of water per day.

Keep in mind this number will vary depending on a number of factors including climate, age, weight and gender. If the temperature and humidity are especially high, a sports drink may be better for you as many will provide carbohydrates and sodium as well.

The most important thing is to make sure you keep up with your hydration. This will help you feel better and less fatigued while enjoying your outdoor time.

The other important step is getting enough energy rich foods in throughout the day to keep up with the amount of energy you are using up while exercising and playing sports. There are a lot of great foods for energy such as lean protein and carbohydrates. Lean protein will help you build and maintain muscles.

Grilled chicken and turkey are both great choices for protein. As for carbohydrates, these will give you a quick energy source; however it’s good to note the types of grains you are consuming. Registered dietician, Suzette Kroll, recommends that half of your grain intake per day should be whole grains.

Keep in mind when selecting items listed as wheat and multigrain it’s important to read the label to make sure they are whole grains. Whole oats, such as oatmeal, contain a lot of good nutrients. This would be a good food to add to your menu if you are planning on a lot of activity.

Containing fiber to give you a steady dose of energy is not the only positive aspect; these oats are also high in vitamin B which helps convert carbohydrates into usable energy. Take a look at the foods you are eating as you may be surprised by some of the nutritional aspects and energy boosting characteristics.

Consider increasing your intake of water and choosing some high energy foods to round of your meals or snacks. Making a few healthy changes will provide optimal results for your outdoor activities.

Coconut Oat-y Energizers

Ingredients:
1⁄2 c. butter
1⁄2 c. brown sugar
1⁄2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. crushed Wheaties
1 c. whole grain oats
1 1/3 c. coconut

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Cream butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla blending until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add this to the creamed mixture until well combined.

4. Add the oats, coconut and cereal, stirring with a spoon.

5. Drop by half tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Don’t worry if they are still pretty light as they will continue to cook for a while on the cookie sheets after you remove them from the oven.

7. Let cool on cookie sheets for about three to five minutes before removing to cool completely.

Brittney Pfenning­-Wendt is a columnist for the Student Voice.