Whether you’re headed to a block party with neighbors, a beach day with family, or a picnic in the park with that special someone, there’s no doubt that food and fun are on your summer schedule. Some outings may include food you may be trying to avoid, and those sunny beach days may inspire you to be more leisurely than active. A few treats and a few leisurely days are surely well deserved though, right?
When it comes to staying on track with your food and fitness goals and enjoying your summer, it’s all about balance.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Be food prepared.
If you’re headed to a summer party where you know you’ll be tempted or where there won’t be food that accommodates your diet, pack a grab-n-go. Protein bars from brands like NuGo Nutrition and Larabar are usually $1-$2 per bar, packed with plant-based nutrients, and accessible at stores nationwide and on Amazon. Sliced fresh fruit, granola bars, and nuts are other quick, easily portable options.
Pick up your pace.
Of course you’re ready to get your chair and towel positioned just right and relax on the sand. But take a lap by the water before you get settled to squeeze in a few more steps and burn a few more calories.
Make meals simple, quick, and fun.
You’ve got your neighbor’s BBQ at 3 and friends coming over to your place at 6, so you need something shareable and convenient, but impressive. Baste colorful kabobs of tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and squash with olive oil and spices before roasting them in your oven (or whip out your grill!) for 10-12 minutes. Cut whole sweet potatoes in down the middle, place them in aluminum foil, and bake them for 40 minutes. When they’re done, add peanut butter and cinnamon to them, cut them into smaller pieces, and serve them with toothpicks. Or when time is super short, snag some hummus or salsa from your local farmers’ market or grocery store, serve it on a fun platter and call it a day!
It can be tempting to pop open a fizzing can of Coke or hit the Starbucks drive-thru for your favorite frappuccino while riding around with the convertible down this summer, but don’t let the heat talk you into making to a decision packed with sugar and calories that you may regret later.
Find fun ways to use resistance bands.
You can do quick and simple exercises with them during long days in the office and during your activity packed weekends. If you’re traveling this summer, be sure to bring them along. They take up minimal space and can inspire you to keep moving even on vacation.
Bring the chill to your meals.
A hot kitchen can often be the least fun place on these scorching summer days. Give yourself a brrr-eak from cooking with meals that require little to no cooking and that are chockfull of nutrients and yumminess. You may find some of the meals here to be colorful and shareable enough to carry with you to summer parties. Bonus points: with cool meals, you won’t have to worry about reheating food you travel with.
Make time to disconnect.
It’s easy to get caught up in all things planned even during the summer. From work commitments to our pressing social calendar to our ever-present technology, it can be challenging to stop and unwind. Schedule time to do just that this summer – no matter how challenging that may seem. Write down an hour of mediation or reading in your calendar, turn your phone off for an afternoon, forward your calls to voicemail for a day, or turn your out of office reply on and go take a walk. Long-term health and fitness successes include consistently disconnecting and clearing your schedule so you can clear your mind
Get your family and friends moving with you.
Beating the heat in a nice cool movie theater may be a fun afternoon activity for you and your loved ones, but so may taking a hike in your local park or challenging neighbors or coworkers to a game of kickball. Find activities that your loved ones enjoy and that keep them active, and then keep them engaged consistently. Having fun and enjoying quality time together can help them see that being active can be fun and help you stay motivated to meet your health and fitness goals.
Enjoy early morning activities.
You may not be able to talk your night owl loved ones into games or hikes in the AM, but you can beat the heat and tell them about your fitness fun later. Grab your bike (or rent a bike if you’re in a metropolitan area) and hit the pavement for a few miles. Hit your local park and watch the animals wake up with the sun as you hike by. Find a local outdoor recreation center and try out some new moves like these.
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