A guide to having a healthy and happy summer

When the sun is out, the barbecues begin. As temperatures rise and summer sets in, spending more time outdoors and eating healthier can be part of your summer goals.

If so, here are some suggestions of places where you can make small changes to have a happy and healthy summer.

Healthy eating at barbecues

Whether it’s a 4th of July barbecue or just grilling food because it’s the weekend, summer barbecues are filled with good food. Barbecues are actually an ideal way to eat healthy if you do it right.

Using the grill to cook lots of fresh vegetables and serving them with lean meat or fish can be a healthy summer meal.

If you want to eat a little healthier at a barbecue, here are some tips.

  1. Start with the vegetables. Be the one to bring the plate of veggies to the BBQ or grill some veggies if you’re hosting. Start the meal by eating some vegetables to set a good tone to the food. A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with vegetables to start.
  2. Be judicious about your sides. Potato salad, pasta salad, fries and salsa, and creamy coleslaw are some typical barbecue side dishes. Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to give up these sides entirely, just pick one you like and make it into a quarter of your plate. It is important to continue eating delicious and tasty foods while eating healthy.
  3. Aim for a lean protein. Grilled meats, fish and vegetables are usually better for you than fried alternatives. Choosing a lean meat or fish can be a good option when barbecuing. It’s also worth considering getting some whole-wheat sandwiches if you plan on eating hamburgers or hot dogs. It may take some getting used to the difference in taste, but it can be an alternative to going bunless.
  4. Watch out for the sauces. Some sauces may be higher in sugar than you think. Looking at the nutritional values ​​of sauces and seeing what they contain, as well as how many calories, sugar and fat they contain, can help you make informed decisions about the best sauce to use. Instead of using gravy to flavor your food, you can use fresh herbs and spices before you even start grilling.
  5. Grill your dessert. Grilled fruit skewers or grilled peaches can be a great way to end a summer barbecue on a sweet note. You can serve them with dollops of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and some nuts for added variety and texture.
  6. Think liquid calories. There are simple solutions to creating healthier versions of your favorite summer drinks. Cut your juice or lemonade in half by filling a glass half and half with plain seltzer water, and suddenly you have a refreshing, fizzy summer drink. Consider throwing in fresh fruits and herbs to up the wow factor.

What are the good foods to eat in summer?

Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, beets, peppers, blackberries, blueberries, melons, carrots, celery, cherries, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, garlic, green beans, herbs, cantaloupe, lemons, lima beans, limes, mangoes, okra Peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, watermelon and zucchini are all in season during the summer, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Seasonal Produce Guide.

Eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content like cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, and others can help with summer hydration.

How to eat healthy during the summer

  • Eat a lot of produce. A good amount of produce in the summer tends to be cheaper since it’s in season. Centering your meals around produce by making things like grilled vegetable kebabs or corn salad with grilled fish or a caprese salad with whole-grain vegetable flatbread can be a good way to eat healthy.
  • Find a pattern. Proteins, vegetables, fruits and starch/grains are a simple formula you use to plan your meals. Then, you can have meals like a Greek salad with baked chickpeas and grilled peaches or strawberry salad with fish, rice and spinach. Thinking of a pattern that works well for your dietary needs and sticking to it in the summer can help you eat healthy.
  • Choose your food. Even if you can’t grow your own food in a backyard garden, consider going to a farm that allows you to harvest some produce or a farmers market and design your meals around the fresh produce you see.

Develop an exercise routine in the summer

As the weather warms up, there are more opportunities to be comfortably in nature and plan activities. Here are some examples of activities you can do outdoors in the summer that double as exercise.

  • Hiking. Hiking in the summer is a great way to spend the day. There are a couple of steps you can take to get ready. Consider drinking some water the day before and the morning of your hike, and bring water on your hike. Due to the sun’s rays, it may be a good idea to bring sunscreen and apply it periodically. Please dress appropriately for the weather. While shorts may seem like a great idea in the morning, if your hike involves walking through any bushes, they might not seem like a good idea during the hike. The same goes for shoes that keep your feet covered when out on the trail can be a protective measure.
  • Take a walk. Brisk walking is an easy way to get around. Summer opens up many possibilities of places to walk. Outdoor storefronts or a nature trail are a couple of places you might consider taking a stroll. Even a walk around the neighborhood as the evening cools down can be relaxing.
  • Play a sport. Kicking a soccer ball or playing baseball is a great way to stay active. If you’re on your own, you can find a wall (make sure it’s okay to do this before you start) and kick a soccer ball at it or throw a big rubber ball at it. There are also basketball and ball games that can work for smaller groups as well.
  • Take your workout outdoors. If your typical workout is something like yoga or HIIT or another activity that can be done outdoors, consider giving it a try. You may need to apply some sunscreen and hydrate yourself more, but this can be a good way to get some vitamin D.
  • Go swimming (and actually swim). A lazy day at the beach or pool is a fun way to spend a summer day. To make him a little more active, it might be a good idea to swim for a while. Swimming is low-impact exercise, which means it places less stress on your joints and can be a great way to start an exercise routine.
  • Go kayaking or canoeing. Renting or buying a kayak or canoe and then heading out to a lake can be a relaxing way to see some scenery, enjoy nature, and still be active. It’s another low-impact exercise and can also be meditative.
  • Go for a bike ride. Make sure you have the proper gear and that your bike is in good shape, then consider taking a bike ride during the summer. To make it more enjoyable, find a good bike path that has beautiful scenery or an interesting route. As with any exercise, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re adequately hydrated.
  • Build a water obstacle course in your backyard. Cooling off in the summer heat while enjoying the weather outdoors is a win-win. Pinterest has plenty of ideas on how to create a DIY obstacle course in your backyard. To make it extra fun for summer, consider adding some water elements throughout the course.
  • Revisit old games like capture the flag and tag. If there’s a large group of people in an open space during something like a family reunion or barbecue, it might be fun to revisit games you played as a kid, like capture the flag and tag. Having the whole family play together can be a nostalgic bonding experience.
  • Rock climbing or rafting. With the proper equipment and a guide if you need one, rock climbing and white water rafting are two fun summer activities that can help you get outside.

The case for the quiet time outside

More than 2 in 5 U.S. adults are vitamin D deficient, according to Health Match. An easy way to get more vitamin D is to spend more time outdoors (wearing sunscreen). Quiet time outdoors can have other benefits as well.

A 2022 study showed that prolonged cell phone use negatively impacted the health of college students. Other research has shown that less cell phone use leads to positive mood changes. Spending time outdoors without using a phone and instead doing an activity like journaling or meditating can be good.

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