Does summertime make you nostalgic for the fun and freedom that came with the final school bell? Perhaps you get to live it vicariously with your children. As we all know it’s important for everyone to relax and take a break from the stress and structure of the everyday grind. But make sure the 3-month summer break doesn’t derail all your family’s good habits. It’s important to let your family know that it’s never a good idea to take a break from your healthy lifestyle.
It’s important to enjoy the next three months with family and friends. Many have been waiting for the slower pace, less structure and fewer demands. Just don’t let the schedule changes lead to poor dietary choices and skipped workouts. It doesn’t mean you need to slave away in a hot kitchen all day or hit the gym at 6 am or 6 pm daily. It’s a great time of year to mix things up and add a little variety to your healthy habits. You can try new recipes, choose uncooked salads with plant-based proteins or fire up the grill. It’s also okay to skip the gym if you are staying active with the family. The changes in physical activity can lead to muscle confusion and a more effective workout.
Check out the following sound suggestions for summertime. Following these tips can help you and your family maintains healthy habits without missing out on all the fun of summer:
Maintain a regular meal pattern.
Studies show that skipping meals (especially breakfast) leads to eating more calories throughout the day. Sleeping late makes it easy to skip breakfast but as they say, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It gets your metabolism going and gives you the energy you need to meet the challenges of your day.
Plan to eat most of your meals at home before the family heads out to an amusement park, county fair or neighborhood festival. It’s much easier to pass up the high-calorie, high-fat & high-sugar food offerings commonly found at these venues. These are the venues credited with everything ‘deep-fried’ – elephant ears, candy bars, butter & beer just to name a few.
Get enough fruits & veggies.
In case you haven’t heard ‘more matters’ and this is a great time of year for fresh produce. Try new recipes or cooking methods – grilling isn’t just for the entrée. Throw the fruits and veggies on with the chicken, chops or fish for easy clean-up while keeping the kitchen cool.
Take the whole family to the local farmer’s market or try your hand at planting a garden. Limited space, use containers – perfect for some fruits, vegetables and herbs. Studies tell us that kids are more willing to eat fruits and veggies if they see their parents eat them and if they’re included in the selection & preparation. If they get to grow or pick their salad ingredients they are much more willing to add salad to the menu.
Get calories from food not drinks.
Family attractions, restaurants and vacation spots love to promote calorie-laden frozen concoctions the minute the temperature starts rising. Unfortunately just one of these average-sized beverages a day can add a pound a week to the scale or an additional 12 pounds by the end of summer! Make water your beverage of choice. It’s the perfect no-calorie choice to keep you hydrated and help you maintain a healthy body weight.
Choose fun activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. Hiking the trails at a local park, canoeing or kayaking at a nearby lake or swimming at a community center or water park provide great exercise for you and the whole family. You’ll maintain your regular exercise schedule, get a break from the gym, and set a great example for the entire family.
Get enough sleep.
Relaxed schedules can lead to late nights, sleeping late in the morning and unscheduled eating. Studies have shown that too little or too much sleep can lead to weight gain. It may be the result of skipping meals or eating to stay awake or a slower. It might be due to less physical activity. Whatever the reason doesn’t matter when the fix is simple – get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.