Improving Your Health During the Summer
When trying to improve health, it’s easy to hold off assuming that the next season or phase of life will be an easier time to “make positive changes.”
I hate to say it, but having worked in weight management through all the seasons – numerous times – with people in all phases of life, there are always obstacles.
No more excuses; let’s take advantage of some of the simple health benefits of summer. You can start with these ideas.
Use Those Longer Days Well
With the sun still visible until 9 p.m. most nights, it’s easier to get in those after-dinner walks.
A low-intensity, 10-minute walk can improve blood flow for digestion, meaning less heartburn and bloating – and a better night’s sleep.
Being outside also gives your body a chance to make and store some immune-boosting vitamin D.
Make Those Grills Sizzle
Firing up your grill can help you get a well-balanced meal on the table in 20-30 minutes. The best part? Minimal clean up!
Toss a lean protein such as fish, shrimp, pork loin or chicken breast, add a few baby red potatoes and some vegetables in a little canola oil, and you’re just about done.
Season it to your tastes, including fresh herbs if you have them, and voila! You’ve got a nutritious, delicious meal. Plus you can enjoy the meal outdoors – where you eat is important.
Keep the Water Flowing
While many people struggle to drink enough fluids, when we have warmer weather to enjoy, it can help remind us of just how refreshing and delicious a cold glass of water can be. Savor your recommended glasses of it each day.
Summer often means busier schedules and more travel. Although some may see this as an obstacle, as long as you have some healthy travel snacks handy, I see it as time to stay farther away from your fridge and pantry.
Shelf-stable, healthy travel snacks can include:
- Apples, bananas, oranges and dried fruit
- Mini sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas or mini cucumbers
- Nuts, seeds, popcorn, whole-grain crackers and beef jerky.
If you can pack a small cooler, include yogurt, cheese sticks, sliced fruit and vegetables and hard-boiled eggs.
There are many approaches to better eating, but I hope these ideas will let you make the most of the season. Don’t wait another six months for a New Year to make changes – do it now.
Learn more about nutrition and your health by contacting Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota Dietitian Lauren Cornay.