8 Small Changes to Improve Your Health This Summer
Now that the days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer, it might be time to re-evaluate our health routines. Summertime is often when we recommit to our healthy eating plans, so we look and feel great all season long. But don’t feel like you have to totally overhaul your fitness and nutrition plan to see results, there are plenty of small changes you can make that have a significant impact over time.
These suggestions might seem small but, when done consistently, they can make a huge difference over time. Challenge yourself to try forming some of these habits and keep track of how they make you look and feel.
Here are some new habits you can start forming for big results:
1. GET EXTRA SHUTEYE
Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Not only do most of our body’s restorative functions happen at night, but there have been studies linking higher BMI to people who get less than 8 hours of sleep a night. A 2012 University of Colorado study found that when participants weren’t getting enough sleep, it affected their food choices. Not only did this group end up eating more, but they also made poorer food choices. Aiming for 7-8 hours of restful sleep per night helps you choose nourishing foods and leaves your body rested and restored.
2. STEP TO IT
The sunny summer weather makes it so much easier to get outside and get your steps in. Park farther away, take the stairs instead of the elevator, circle your kitchen while the coffee percolates, or take a few 10-minute walking breaks throughout the day. These little bits of movement might seem small but add up throughout the week.
3. MAKE SMART SWAPS
With all the summer barbecues you’ll probably be attending, you might be diverting from your normal eating habits more often than you’d like. Every so often, try to opt for your burger on a lettuce wrap instead of a bun to save on calories and carbs. Can’t enjoy those grilled items without the bread? Opt for a light bun to save calories or a whole-wheat version for an extra dose of nutrients and whole grains.
4. GET COOKING
While we love the ease and convenience of takeout, those restaurant meals can really add up when you’re ordering multiple times a week. Frequently eating takeout makes it hard to keep track of how these foods contribute to your health and personal goals, since you don’t know how they’re prepared. Consider cutting down on your takeout orders this summer and cooking at home. Fresh, flavorful produce is never easier to get than in the summer. Try hitting up your local farmers market once a week, grab some in-season fruits and veggies, and put together a healthy meal. Short on time? Pick a day each week to meal prep so everything is ready and waiting in your fridge.
5. SNACK SMART
When you sit down with large bags of snack foods, it can be easy to consume more than one portion. Measure out your snacks in individual bags or containers ahead of time so you can easily grab, snack and track.
6. UP YOUR VEGGIE INTAKE
The grill isn’t just for burgers and hot dogs. Summer is the perfect time to up your veggie intake. Not only do they taste great, but the extra veggies deliver a nutrition boost, too. Toss them in a little oil, throw on some of your favourite seasonings, and cook for a flavorful side.
7. INCLUDE PROTEIN AT BREAKFAST
Most people don’t get enough protein at breakfast, leaving them hungry soon after eating. Make sure you include protein with your morning meal to keep you full and satisfied. Some easy protein options include Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs or protein powder.
8. DRINK MORE WATER
Summer is the perfect time to increase your water intake as the heat makes it easier to get dehydrated. Keep a water bottle nearby at all times. Drink a glass when you wake up and before your meals and snacks to sneak more liquid in throughout the day. Not a fan of the taste of plain water? Add some fruit or cucumber slices to flavor your water without extra calories.
Source: MyFitnessPal Blog