Authored by Karen Voci, Executive Director
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
It’s almost that magic time again in New England, when the days get warmer and longer and the kids are out of school. Take advantage of these days and be active with the children in your life – it’s the perfect excuse for grown-ups to play hooky, too!
Get Outside. Plant a garden, go for a bike ride, shoot hoops or play catch, explore local parks and nature trails, visit local farms and farmers markets. Camp out in the back yard and map the night sky. Swim at community pools or lakes or beaches. Check out Nature Rocks and VisitMaine (even if you’re here year round) for fun, outside ideas!
And just because the summer months are filled with cookouts and ice cream doesn’t mean your family’s healthy habits need to take a vacation. You don’t need to ditch all of your favorite treats, just remember that moderation is key to a balanced diet. Here are some easy swaps you can make to ensure your summer will be sweet AND healthy:
- Replace soda and sugar-filled sports drinks with water or low-fat milk. When kids are playing hard and having fun staying hydrated is key- add lemon, kiwi or mint to give your H2O a little kick. The CDC has a great site to help you rethink your drink.
- Play with your food! Put watermelon on popsicle sticks, freeze your grapes or pile berries into ice cream cones to make the season’s fresh picks your kids go-to dessert. Fruit kabobs are an easy recipe that even the little ones can help with. Find your local farmers market to stock up on the season’s fresh fruits and veggies!
- Swap hotdogs and burgers for healthier options like chicken, fish or veggie burgers. Try grilled pineapple or veggies instead of macaroni salad. And when it comes to potatoes, bake your spud or toss it in a little heart-healthy olive oil, rather than mayonnaise. Find great tips for a balanced meal at My Plate.
There are lots more ideas for summer fun and treats right here on the Let’s Go! website and in Balancing Act – Healthy lifestyle ideas and resources for families, published by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. Copies of Balancing Act will soon be available from physicians participating in Let’s Go! Health Care. Look for copies at your next visit.
This blog is part of Let’s Go!’s special Summer Fun series and is brought to you by The Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation.