We are now officially in the throes of summer! If your schedule looks anything like mine, you are probably well aware that the idea of endless summer leisure can sometimes seem like an optimistic myth. But this is not necessarily a bad thing! Often, these longer, warmer days are bursting with fun activities, sunshine and quality family time! And the good news is that this does not mean your summer health needs to suffer! As I continue to figure out how to balance work with fun, I have discovered some awesome and easy ways to help me maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I like to hit the grocery store with a plan at the beginning of each week. While I am there, I aim to stock up on enough food to last me for several days. This means I don’t have to worry about making grocery runs mid-week and can prep food in advance for when I just don’t have time to cook. Before the craziness of the week picks up, free up a half-hour for cutting up fresh fruits, cooking a big pot of quinoa or roasting vegetables. You will be amazed at how much easier making healthy choices will be! Stash your pre-prepped food in ready-to-go containers or bags for effortless healthy eating at home or on-the-move.
Staying on top of health, for me, depends a great deal on having nutritious and delicious foods always on hand. This is easier than it may sound. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are both super viable options and are great for long-term storage and adding variety. Frozen fruits and veggies are great for quick and easy smoothies when you’re in a hurry but need some nutrition. Healthy smoothies only take a few minutes to make and I love to throw Power O’s or granola on top for a satisfying crunch and an extra punch of fiber and protein.
I LOVE the way Love Grown products enable me to make easy and nutritious meals in a snap! Our Hot Oats Muffin Recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make! Super Oats Egg White Oatmeal can be quickly made for a power-packed and filling meal that can cook while you multitask – all you need is a bag of Super Oats and an egg. And, to keep it super simple, Power O’s are a great way to start any day and can be enjoyed with any variety of milk, on top of a to-go yogurt cup or even just in handfuls straight out of the box!
It’s easy to get caught up in our busy schedules and rush through meals or snacks. Don’t forget to make even just a little time to sit down and ENJOY your food! Being mindful and present when you eat ensures that you’re getting the right amount of food and that your body is most effectively able to digest it.
Another super essential component of staying healthy year-round, and especially in the summer, is to stay hydrated! I try to always have a water bottle with me because it is so easy to forget to grab a real glass in between activities. And I LOVE keeping a batch of iced tea or infused water on hand. I let cut-up cucumbers, oranges and berries sit overnight in refrigerated water to add a crisp and natural spin. Water is so key to keeping you from feeling sluggish in the heat, plus it prevents dehydration. And, as if we needed another reason to drink up, water also battles bloat, is detoxifying, and helps maintain a clear and glowing complexion. Shoot for at least the recommended 9 8-oz. glasses a day, but challenge yourself to drink half your weight in ounces to ensure you are getting enough for your body.
I love summer because of the long days. Regardless of how busy my schedule is, I know how important it is to incorporate movement into my day. I rarely go to the gym in the summer, instead I incorporate activity daily by doing a park-bench workout, riding my bike, or going for walks. The fact that there is still so much sunlight when I get home from work motivates me to take advantage of the long days.
Combine your workouts with leisure and friends and family time! Making your fitness social is the perfect way to squeeze everything (and everyone!) in. It also adds an extra boost of fun to what can sometimes become a monotonous solo fitness routine. The warm weather enables outdoor activities like hiking, biking or swimming. It is also the perfect excuse to grab your friends and family and head to the park to play pick-up games of soccer or volleyball. Pack along a nutritious picnic and you’re ready for a full day of healthy amusement!
Help yourself stay on track by reflecting on your goals each morning when you wake up. Even if this just consists of writing down three health-related tasks you’d like to try to focus on, setting an intention at the beginning of the day can be the difference maker in maintaining a healthy routine! Having a plan will remove the stress of trying to juggle a changing and unpredictable schedule with your fitness and nutrition aspirations.
At the end of the day, remember that it is totally okay to give yourself a little wiggle room! Summer is often a time of spontaneous gathering and fun and always denying yourself that burger at the family BBQ, or skipping out on a relaxing day at the pool because you have to make the noon yoga class, can lead to unhealthy burn-out and stress. Just remember: balance is key!
Use the above tips to help keep your normal schedule as healthy as possible so that you can feel empowered to indulge or unwind when those special summer opportunities do present themselves!