Summer can certainly be hard on your healthy habits. With barbecues, hungry kids at home, frequent trips to the ice cream parlor, and traveling to food-famous destinations, your habits of exercising and eating well can disappear quickly. So before summer gets too well underway, we’d like to offer you a list of some common summer health pitfalls, and ways to help you stay true to your healthy lifestyle.
1. The problem: The summer outdoor party. Whether it’s a graduation celebration, a Father’s Day cookout, or a neighborhood block party, unhealthy food abounds. While delicious, the “family secret” potato salad, decadent desserts, and grilled cheeseburgers don’t necessarily support a lean and trim lifestyle.
Our solution: The veg rotation. Much like the 1:1 cocktail to water rule (have one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage), this has you eating a plateful of fresh veggies, fresh fruit, or salad greens before every helping of the other stuff. Going back for seconds of the bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers? Eat a heaped-up pile of salad first. Ready for dessert? Not until you load up on watermelon. Not only does this trick help fill you up on smart-choice calories, but it helps you to take a few minutes before giving into temptation to contemplate whether you really want that ice cream sundae.
2. The problem: Summer travel. The best blueberry pie? The fresh fried clam basket? The cheese curds from the local dairy? You want to try them all.
Our solution: Be generous, be choosy. Of course you’re going to sample these destination delights. However, try to choose wisely. At a local restaurant, ask the server for suggestions on the most popular, or most famous dish, and then split it with your tablemates, along with a dinner salad or two. Another option is to request a side portion of the delicacy, and enjoy it atop a bowl of salad greens (think: macaroni and cheese, a legendary smoked rib, or seafood paella). Also, think ahead – if you know that you’re going to head out for cheesecake later, maybe take it easy at lunchtime with a broth-based soup and some fruit salad.
3.The problem: Visiting relatives, away from your exercise sessions, and your fridge full of responsible food choices.
Our solution: Bring it with you. Okay, not literally, but you can easily bring your healthy lifestyle with you on vacation. Suggesting a post-meal walk or swim in lieu of the customary living room chat session, or an outing to a museum or miniature golf course will not only help keep your activity level high, but your relatives might appreciate your input on activities you’d like to do. Visiting especially young and/or active folks?Challenge them to a fun, light-hearted fitness competition – a 40-yard dash, a monkey bar race, a push-up count, a relay-race, or all of the above! You’ve made some gains in your strength and stamina, why not show it off a little? Food-wise, feel free to do some grocery shopping of your own, and make cooking together part of the quality time you spend with your loved ones.
Fun summer plans don’t have to mean a vacation from your healthy habits. With a little creativity and planning, the summer season can be your most enjoyable, most active, and very healthiest time of year.