After a tough year of stress and restrictions introduced by COVID-19, like many others, I have been awaiting the relief that summer often brings along with it. Summertime offers beautiful weather and so many opportunities to soak up the sun and see family and friends outdoors while social distancing. With summertime also comes the possibility of either getting back on track or falling off track with our healthy lifestyles. Here are 4 tips to help you stay healthy and make the most of this summer.

1.  Get active!

Summer offers beautiful weather and conditions for getting active outdoors. If you’ve fallen off track with walking during the winter months, this is the perfect time to get back into it. Try including a 30-minute walk everyday either in the morning, during your lunch break or in the evening after dinner.

Include your family with staying active, encourage them to go on walks with you, or explore the outdoors with a walk in a park or a hike through our many beautiful conservation parks. Consider even dusting off that soccer ball, basketball or baseball and playing a friendly family game.

2.  Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important all year round, but it needs a little more attention in the summertime with the heat and sun. make sure to drink adequate amounts of water, especially if you’re going outdoors. If you have a hard time remembering to drink water, try using an insulated water bottle. Fill it up and place it in front of you or take it with you when you go out. To add a little flavour, try adding slices of lemon, lime, mint, cucumber, or strawberry.

Although it is tempting, try to limit drinking juices and sugary beverages to quench your thirst. They often contribute excess calories and sugar (and can cause blood sugars to spike for diabetics). Instead, try making your own unsweetened iced-tea with herbal fruity teas or smoothies using whole fruit and load it with greens like spinach or kale.

3.  Follow the 80-20% rule

Staying healthy is not about completely restricting yourself and avoiding foods you enjoy. Instead, try finding a balance by making healthy choices 80% of the time and let yourself indulge in foods that may not align with your health goals (i.e foods higher in fats and sugars) 20% of the time.

To help you stay within 20%, consider these tips when indulging in foods to moderate your intake:

  •  Limit frequency (i.e. 1-2 times/week instead of 5 times/week)
  • Avoid consuming excessive portions, moderate to 1 serving

Also consider substituting certain icy desserts for a healthier alternative such as making your own home-made fruit sorbet by using whole frozen fruits or making a Greek yogurt parfait using low-fat Greek yogurt, berries and low sugar granola.

4.  Try different vegetables that are in season!

The summertime also brings with it a long list of tasty and nutritious vegetables that are fresh and in season. Vegetables are an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants and should be an essential component of your meals. Vegetables in season during the summer (June- August) include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Sprouts
  • Snow peas
  • Bok Choy
  • Chinese broccoli
  • Hinn Choy
  • Mustard Greens

Make sure to include them as a part of your ½ a plate of non-starchy vegetables by adding them into a fresh summer salad with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt for dressing or throw them on the grill as a side of your main meal.

For a longer list of vegetables and fruits that are in season in Ontario, check out the Foodland Ontario Availability Guide.