Staying active in the summer months
The arrival of spring and summer means days at the pool, family picnics, baseball and other outdoor activities. Here are some tips to keep your family physically active in the warmer months:
- Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration. For low-calorie flavor, add slices of your favorite fruits such as melon, oranges, berries or even cucumber or mint to a pitcher of water and refrigerate for two hours.
- Protect your family from the sun: wear wide-brimmed hats, always apply water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
- Heat safety: avoid intense activities between noon and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
- Dress for the heat: wear lightweight, light colored clothing, choose light, breathable fabrics such as cotton, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Head indoors: when the heat gets unbearable, try indoor activities at your local YMCA or rec center like basketball, swimming, yoga or racquetball.
Warmer weather may mean it’s time to break out the grill, here are some tips and ideas for a healthier grilling cookout:
- Go fish! Fish, especially oily fish like tuna and salmon have great nutritional benefits including omega-3 fatty acids. Rub a fillet with lemon juice and parsley or rosemary for enhanced flavor.
- Make a better burger: if you’re grilling burgers, be sure to buy lean or extra lean beef, drain off the excess fat after cooking and avoid making huge patties – remember that a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards (3 oz). Add finely chopped green pepper to your beef to get in some veggies.
- Baked fries: Slice white or sweet potatoes into sticks, lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray, pepper and paprika and bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
- Veggie kabobs: load up skewers with mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash or other veggies. Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and grill until slightly blackened.
- Try grilled corn on the cob: leave the husks on, and grill for about 30 minutes over medium flame, rotating occasionally. Remove from grill, let cool for about 5 minutes, remove husks and enjoy!
Healthy Road Trip
Road trips can take a toll on everyone – here are some ideas to keep things healthier while on the open road:
- Make “rest breaks” active: pick a road stop or park and get the family out of the car to take a brisk 10-minute walk and move around. Not only will it burn off some energy, but it can also help the driver feel rejuvenated and more alert.
- Pack healthy snacks: finding healthier snacks at road stops can be difficult. Pack apples, grapes, raisins, whole grain fiber-rich crackers or another favorite low fat, low sodium healthy snack to take with you.
- Pack to play: plan to incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine while you’re away from home. Pack a football, soccer ball, Frisbee, or paddle balls so that you can be physically active throughout your downtime.
- Reach for water: sitting in the car for long periods of time can make it tempting to drink soda, which has extra calories and added sugar. Pack water (flavored or regular), fat free or lowfat (1%) milk and small portions of 100% juice to quench your thirst.
Summer Snack Ideas
Try some fun and refreshing summer snacks that the entire family can enjoy:
- Fruit pops: Homemade freezer pops are an easy, fun treat for kids to make. Mash up fruit like peaches, grapes, berries or watermelon and put them in paper cups, insert a popsicle stick, freeze overnight and enjoy!
- Cool and crisp: keep a variety of colorful veggies on hand that stay cool and crunchy for a refreshing treat – baby carrots, cucumber slices, and celery sticks are just a few ideas.
- Fruit smoothies: blend your favorite fresh fruits with fat-free or low-fat yogurt and ice for a refreshing drink or freeze and eat with a spoon like a frozen ice chill.
- Mix it up: make your own trail mix using your favorite unsalted, oil free nuts, seeds and dried fruits (just be sure to keep your servings to 1.5 ounces or 1/3 cup).
- Just slice and serve: summer months are peek season for most fruits, just slice and serve – the whole family will enjoy the refreshing natural sweetness and juices just the way nature made ‘em!
Enjoy your summer, the healthy way!