Summer is officially here! That means sun, swimming, and s’mores by the fire! While summer can be a time of unhealthy temptations at vacations and cookouts, it can also be a wonderful opportunity to adopt some new healthy habits! Here are some tips and tricks to make your summer a time for fun AND health!

1. Schedule activities that are…active!

Summer is a great time to explore new places and activities, whether it’s a weekend trip or finding new things to do in your local area. Look for leisure time activities that will keep you moving like hiking, biking, kayaking, or swimming. These are great activities for friends and families to have fun and be active together! Schedule a weekly get together to make it part of your routine and keep each other accountable!

2. Explore your local farmer’s market

Summer is a time for fresh veggies galore! Farmer’s markets offer fresh, local produce that you can incorporate into your meal planning. Research the days and times of markets near you, and plan to go weekly to stock up on fresh, healthy foods!

3. Don’t let vacation be your downfall

We all deserve a vacation and time to unwind from our stressful lives, but don’t use vacation as an excuse to be inactive and eat whatever you want! If you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, plan to cook some of your meals instead of eating out (or cook some ahead of time to take with you and reheat). If eating out is the only option, be mindful and look for healthy options. Be sure to consider the large portion sizes of restaurants and plan to take home leftovers or split a meal with someone. To stay active, find activities to do on your vacation that will keep you moving. Plan to walk or bike places, instead of driving, whenever possible. Just remember that relaxation time doesn’t have to be sedentary time!

4. Swap the sweets!

Ice cream and other frozen sweet treats are certainly tempting in the summer, but over-consumption of foods packed with added sugar can have major impacts on your weight, mood, immune system, and insulin! Try skipping the dessert at summer parties. If you find yourself wanting something cool and sweet, try fruit instead!  If making dessert for a gathering, adding a little melted dark chocolate or whipped cream makes for a perfect summer treat that is lighter on the added sugar. While it’s okay to treat yourself occasionally, just remember that when it comes to sugar, less is best!

And on that note…

6. Carry a water bottle with you!

We sweat more in the hot summer months, which means we need to drink more water! Make sure to have water with you throughout the day, especially when spending time outside! Try taking a water bottle with you to cookouts and other “food-focused” events. Holding the water bottle will be a constant reminder to stay hydrated and may even help keep you from mindlessly eating and drinking at parties!

5. Beware of summer beverages

Lemonade, iced tea, frozen coffee, and of course alcohol seem to be staples in the summer. In moderation, these things are fine to enjoy. But don’t let the warm weather be your excuse to over-consume these sugary beverages. Try unsweetened iced tea or coffee instead. If consuming alcohol, watch for the sugary juice and soda mixers. Try mixing with tea or sparkling water for a lighter and refreshing drink! Ultimately, water is the best thing you can be drinking. Try adding fresh fruit or herbs to make it more summery and refreshing!

7. Get your daily sun fix!

Summer days are longer and (sometimes) sunnier! Sunlight has so many benefits for your health and mood. Take advantage of sunny days! Try getting out for a walk or just taking some time to sit and relax in the sunshine. Aim for 10-30 minutes of midday sun exposure several times per week to help boost Vitamin D levels. If you’ll be out for long periods of time, make sure to have sunblock! (If you have any concerns about your skin or sun exposure, always consult with your doctor).

8. Don’t drop the gym, supplement it!

We see this all too often. The weather gets nice, and people don’t want to be inside working out (totally understandable, we don’t want to be inside either!). But dropping your routine for the summer could hinder or even reverse the progress you have made. Instead of dropping the gym all together, keep up with your routine and add in additional activities that can be done outside (running, hiking, swimming, yard work, etc.). If you usually do cardio at the gym, you could replace that with outdoor running biking for the summer, if you want, but stick with your strength training program! Spending an hour or two inside will be well worth it to stay on track with your fitness goals! Plus adding those additional outdoor activities will boost your overall energy expenditure even more!

Whatever may be in store for you this summer, always prioritize your health! Choose foods and activities that will leave you feeling strong and energized, Healthy lifestyles take time to implement, but every small change can help get you closer to optimal health and wellness!

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