How to Prevent Summer From Derailing Every Last Healthy Habit

woman and daughter eating ice cream cones in summer

Grabbing burgers and fries on your drive to the coast. Buying cotton candy and soft serve at the fair. Grilling ribs for your fam in the backyard ... Summertime's delicious fun -- can't argue with that. But there can be a downside to all that delectable downtime.


"Once school [for your kids] ends, your schedule changes. And any change from the norm can derail typical healthy eating patterns," explains Jennifer Christman, RDN, LDN, CPT, clinical nutrition manager at Medifast. "When you throw in taking kids to summer camp, vacations, trips to the pool, and barbecues, those extra activities make healthy eating take a backseat."

No one's saying you shouldn't allow yourself to relax and indulge. (Not to mention love your bod the way it is.) But here's how you can stay fit until school starts again in September and you've got a lot more control over your sched again.

How can I "eat right" when I'm chauffeuring my kids from one movie/water park/day trip to another?

"Plan to plan," Christman advises. Even before you hit the Little Gnomes theme park or Biggest Ball of Ear Wax, research food availability in those areas. (There's this thing called the Internet?)

Choosing what and when you'll eat when you're out and about "will take the pressure off finding a healthy option while you're there," explains Christman.

Bonus: You won't have to pay $9 for a shriveled-up hot dog.

I'm going on a two-week vacation with my family. Am I doomed to eat drive-thru crap the whole time?

"If you're able to pack healthy snacks like fruit, popcorn, low-fat cheese, and veggies, do so," urges Christman. And if you're staying in a hotel or relative's house and have access to a kitchen while you're traveling, even better.

"Take a quick visit to a local grocery store to stock up on essentials," Christman adds. That includes everything you need for a healthy, high-protein breakfast -- i.e., eggs, low-fat dairy, and fruit. Most important meal of the day, yo.

More from CafeMom: Being Body Positive Doesn't Mean Giving Up on Your Body Goals

I refuse to pay $2 for a bottle of water when I'm at the arcade/bowling alley/museum with my kids. Is it healthy if I just ignore my thirst?

Uh, no. If you're not drinking enough, your metabolism can slow to snail's pace. Plus your brain power suffers. If you don't want to shell out extra bucks for what comes out of the faucet for free, fine. Then "carry a water bottle with you at all times," says Christman. (And actually drink from it!)

I used to hit the gym regularly. But now I don't have the time. Sniff.

Gotta get creative, sister. For starters, step up your lifestyle: Walk more. Garden in the yard. Swim or play tag with your kids rather than standing around, checking your phone.

"Make a plan for an activity every day that incorporates movement," Christman suggests. "Explore different parks in your town. Or when your kids are playing on the playground, get in some squats, push-ups, and sit-ups."

Not only are you doing something healthy for yourself, Christman adds, but "you're setting a great example for your kids."

I feel like I'm just too busy to take any time for myself. #Annoying!

We get it. The camps and trips and family coming into town and you traveling out ... But "it's important to take pause," says Christman. "Plan activities that focus on moving, healthy eating, getting outdoors, and enjoying family togetherness."

Don't worry. September will roll around soon enough.



Image via Sunny studio/Shutterstock; unsplash/Alex Jones

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