Dietitians Dish: Sand, sun and snacks
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It's that time of the year when people are hitting the beach. Time is spent lounging in the sun, building sandcastles and swimming. While it feels good to be relaxing in the sun, the sun and heat can dehydrate you quickly. Consider some of the following quick and easy-to-pack snacks to help keep you hydrated:
Melons: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew
If you have been outside and sweating a lot, consider the addition of salty foods to replace sodium lost in the sweat.• Whole grain crackers Whole grain crackers
• Low-fat popcorn Low-fat popcorn
• Pretzels Pretzels
• Jerky Jerky
• Pickles Pickles
• Baked chips Baked chips
Drinks are the most common way to stay hydrated. Choose water most often, but if you are looking for something with flavor, avoid the high sugar and caffeinated drinks. Caffeine can make you urinate more often, which can lead to dehydration if those fluids are not replaced. Avoid the sports drinks as these can be loaded in sugar; drink them sparingly.
Alcohol can also cause dehydration and should be limited. Consider the fact that drinking alcoholic beverages and swimming is also not a good combination and is known to be a factor in drowning deaths.
Parents need to know the signs and symptoms of dehydration and be aware of them for themselves, as well as their children. Children may get too involved in activity and forget to rehydrate themselves. Signs of dehydration include:
Thirst or dry, sticky mouth
Cramps or headache
Decreased urine output (or urine that is a dark yellow)
Sleepiness or tiredness
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Remember, if it's hot outside and foods need to remain cold, you must plan ahead. Cold foods should be kept at less than 40 degrees. Keep drinks, fruits and vegetables on ice. If foods get warm for more than two hours, throw it away to prevent foodborne illness.
Keep the ice chest in the shade to help lower the temperature of the ice chest and make the ice last longer. Also, make sure you bring your hand sanitizer in case there is no place to wash your hands.
Elizabeth Sommerfeld is the clinical nutrition manager/bariatric coordinator at DeTar Healthcare Systems. She is a registered and licensed dietitian and has a master of science degree. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.