3 Tips for Healthy Summer Fun
Summer is here and it’s time to get out and enjoy the warm weather. But it’s also important to stay safe and healthy so here are three tips to help you stay healthy while enjoying these longer days.
The first tip is to get up and move! Now that it stays lighter into the evening hours, make sure you can get outside and move. This is especially important if you have a job where you sit most of the day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity every week. This increase in action has immediate benefits like better sleep and reduced stress and anxiety.
The second tip is to protect your skin by using proper sunscreen and taking care of your skin throughout the summer months. The most natural way to protect your skin is to cover up when out in the sun. This includes long sleeve sun guards, hats, sunglasses, and bathing suit coverups. Using an SPF sunscreen is also important, as is building up your exposure slowly, especially if you live most of the year in a cold climate.
The third tip is to add more delicious summer fruits and veggies to your diet. You may have heard of “eating the rainbow,” which means eating foods that are each color of the rainbow regularly. Another suggestion is to make half of your plate veggies. This is easier to do in the summer when there are so many delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season and easily available.
And a bonus tip is to make sure you stay hydrated! If you are going to be spending the day out and about in the heat (especially if you are exercising or otherwise exerting yourself) you should boost your water intake. It’s recommended to add 12 ounces of water for every 30 minutes you spend in the heat sweating.
Use these tips to make the most of this time of year where the days are longer and warmer than usual, and you can get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Your body will appreciate the Vitamin D, exercise, and heathy eating!
A Taste of Summer
Summer brings with it a variety of vegetables and fruits that aren’t available during the rest of the year. Two of the most abundant ingredients are tomatoes and zucchini. Here’s a great recipe that combines both for a dish you can make at home or share at a summer BBQ. This zucchini and tomato bake only takes minutes to prep and can help you use those vegetables before they spoil.
The ingredient list is simple:
- 3 medium zucchinis, chopped
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved) If you want to really be fancy, use the multi-colored tomatoes
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil for a final drizzle
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons of basil, torn for garnish
And putting this dish together is quick and simple. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the chopped zucchini, halved tomatoes, garlic, olive oil drizzle, salt and pepper to taste and mix everything until it is well combined. Pour vegetables in a small baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake 35 minutes until golden brown and delicious! Add the basil garnish and serve.
Don’t let summer pass without making this dish that combines two of summer’s greatest culinary gifts.
Spring Cleaning the Mind: Meditation in this New Season
Many people have issues “turning off their brain” to go to sleep or even just to relax. And for others this inability to “quiet the mind” can bring its own set of stress and anxiety. It might seem like an impossible task for some, but the steps to begin a regular meditation habit are simple and easy to attain.
Even mainstream medical practitioners recognize the positive impact of meditation, a type of mind-body medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. It doesn’t have to be complicated to get started. It’s as simple as finding a quiet room, a comfortable position, focused attention, and an open attitude. And one of the best tips might not be something you have even considered before: don’t try so hard.
There are many helpful apps, programs, and websites that can help you begin but the main thing you want to do is don’t set your expectations super high as you begin. Set a goal and go with it. For example, better sleep, reduced anxiety, or stress relief. And don’t be afraid to try different methods of meditation until you find one you are comfortable with.
After setting your goal or intention as it is sometimes called, create a space that is comfortable and free of distractions and noise. Some people like to keep things minimalist while others like to add things that make them comfortable or bring joy (like candles, plants essential oils, or special lighting). If you are using a guided meditation app or program, you might consider using earbuds to cut out the distractions and noise.
Now that you have set a goal and created a space, the next tip is to make your meditation a daily routine. Just like finding daily time to exercise, setting a time to meditate helps ensure you will make it a habit. For some, this might mean meditating first thing in the morning before the day begins. For others, meditating nightly before bed helps quiet the mind for better sleep.
No matter what meditation method you choose, just beginning the journey is a step in the right direction. Meditation can help both your mental and physical health so developing a consistent practice is the key to success. Just get started and be open to where the path takes you!
Enjoying a Taste of Spring
After the soups and comfort foods of fall and winter, it’s time to enjoy the harvest of Spring vegetables. Nothing heralds the arrival of Spring and warmer temperatures like a nice Spring Harvest Salad. Depending on where you live, these vegetables may vary a bit in their arrival time but adjust the ingredients and ratios to your preferences.
Spring leaf lettuce (and some other varieties depending on where you live) can be plentiful this time of year so enjoy this early harvest of greens and mix and match to your taste buds. Spinach is also a great addition to any salad and packs a great nutritional punch. Spring onions are also plentiful this time of year as they are one of the first vegetables ready to harvest in early Spring.
This salad begins with spring leaf lettuce, spinach, and if you like that peppery bite, a bit of arugula. Artichokes are also in season in the spring so adding those delicious hearts is a great option. Throw in some sliced strawberries and some of those spring onions and you have the base to a beautiful salad!
Dressings can vary by preference as some want to keep the flavors as the star but here is a simple dressing for this amazing salad.
- 4 teaspoons of lemon juice
- 2 ½ teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- Pinch of salt and pepper
Adding a bit of feta cheese and some sliced toasted almonds takes this salad over the top. Bon Appetite!