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This can be your best summer yet!

This Can Be Your Best Summer Yet!

Summer. Maybe you think of it as a great time to get out of the house, play with the kids, grill on the deck, and go swimming. Or maybe you associate it with parties, calorie-laden cocktails, chips and dip, and vacations filled with restaurant meals. No matter what summer brings to mind, you can make this one your healthiest yet, even while having a great time. Try these tips to get started.

  • Use your grill – for veggies! Maybe you’re used to grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and steak, but have you tried using your grill for veggies? I had the best broccoli of my life on a recent trip to the beach, and the grill master simply tossed the broccoli with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, seasoning, wrapped it in tin foil, and put it on the grill until the tips were a little browned and crispy. I could have eaten three pounds of it. You can also make veggie shish kabobs, just use firm veggies like mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Just about any veggie is delicious from the grill, try it.
  • Fruit and veggies are fresh and abundant this time of year, eat them! If you’ve got a local farmer’s market, it’s definitely worth checking out this time of year. Depending on where you live, you’re bound to run into fresh berries, broccoli, squash, lettuce, kale, chard, onions, tomatoes, eggplants, snap peas, peaches, plums, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and more. And the taste? Usually off the charts, especially when you compare it to the sad, pink tomatoes at the grocery store. Even if you think you’re not a fan of a particular fruit or veggie, give the fresh-picked version a try. Often the seller will have some great ideas for prepping the food to bring out its best features, so be sure to ask!
  • Don’t use the summer as an excuse to overdo alcohol. It sure is nice to have a cold beer or a fruity drink on a hot summer’s night, but to stay in line with your health goals, keep your imbibing to special occasions. Still want something fun and sparkly to drink? Try a mocktail. It’s as easy as pouring an ounce of two of your favorite juice over ice and topping that off with flavored seltzer. Google “healthy mocktails” to get tons of other ideas.
  • Join a summer sports team. Did you know that many and cities and towns offer adult sports? Summer volleyball and basketball leagues, soccer, even disc golf might be available. Check with your local recreation center or gym, or call the Parks and Rec department in your town. You may also be able to find their schedule of team sports online, and many teams also allow kids who are 16 and over to join, so it can be a fun way for the whole family to stay active.
  • Go for a swim or a bike ride. There are certain activities that are just more fun in the summer, am I right? (Unless you’re into a February polar plunge, I suppose.) Do you have a local swim hole or lake to hit up? Even if you don’t have kids, cooling off with a plunge on a hot summer day sure is nice. Other great summer activities are bike riding, walking, and hiking. Anything that gets you up and active is a great choice.
  • Play fun outdoor games during your picnics. Instead of spending your afternoons sitting on a lawn chair at a barbeque, try playing a game. Frisbee, Disc golf, corn hole, horseshoes, or croquet all come to mind. Even if the whole crowd is over 18, pull out the games. Make it more interesting by making the losing team responsible for clean up duty.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.