Has Summer Done a Number on Your Diet? Here’s How to Get Back on Track.
For some people, summertime means light salads and lots of blueberries and tons of outdoor activities. For most of us, though, it means cocktails, barbeque, lying by a pool (or on a couch in an air conditioned house!), and trying to take it easy.
Summer can feel like a time to slow down, to feast with friends and family, and to stop worrying so much about everything that’s going on with your life and health.
If you’ve gotten off track this summer (Vacation food! Potato salad! Margaritas! What’s exercise!?), then here are some tips for you.
- Take advantage of nature’s bounty. I don’t know if you knew this, but I hated vegetables growing up. Now, though, I’m right there at the farmer’s market when it first opens so that no one beats me to the limited supply of kale! The thing about this time of year is that so many delicious and healthy foods are at their absolute peak and will taste better than any other time (or anything you’ll get at a grocery story). Tomatoes, eggplant, many varieties of lettuce, berries, onions, green beans, and more are so ripe and delicious, you’ll want to take them all home. Not sure how to prepare them? Many times the grower selling you that bundle of beets has a favorite way to prepare them, so don’t be afraid to ask!
- Make exercise work for you. Depending on where you live, exercising outside may be impossible this time of year with the high temperatures. If you used to walk every day after work but now find it too sunny and sticky to do so, try going first thing in the morning or even getting a temporary gym membership and walking on a treadmill, instead. And if you’re too busy with activities (children, picnics, etc.) to fit it in the way you used to, try buying a DVD with short and quick workouts that you can sneak in almost any time.
- Enjoy some mocktails. Alcohol is often free-flowing this time of year, but many drinks are loaded with calories and sugar. Next time you’re at a party, or just want to cool off after work, try a wine spritzer, or if that’s not your thing, try a mocktail (a cocktail with no booze in it). Even just some seltzer with some fruit floating in it can make you feel like you’re celebrating.
- Get active with the whole family. Summer is a great time to start doing an activity with your family that gets everyone’s blood moving. Join your spouse for a walk once the sun starts going down, grab the kids and try stand up paddle boarding or a game of backyard badminton, or find some new hiking trails with your dog.
- Don’t let vacation eating spread into your everyday life. Earlier this year my family and I took a two-week long trip. We stayed mostly with friends and family and had access to kitchens, but still, our normal eating habits suffered. It’s so easy to get takeout on vacation, or to eat at the same greasy spoon every morning, or have fancy desserts every night. That’s cool for vacation (especially a short one), but don’t bring your vacation habits home with you. Use your first day at home to reset and grocery shop for the kinds of foods you want to be eating.
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