A Healthy Summer Helping: Tips to Stay on Course

Summer-time full of the good stuff…sand, sun, vacation, BBQs, and good eats! The summer can be a tempting time! Just as you would protect yourself from the sun with heavy duty SPF, take time to cherish your health during these summer months as well.  That is not to say that you can’t enjoy a quick-to-melt soft-serve cone from your favorite ice cream shop or that you must avoid summer picnics like the plague. Instead, be aware of steps you can take to ensure you and your family have a happy and healthy summer.

Let’s face reality, we are human and some foods are just hard to resist.  As I prepare for my own holiday travels, I am filled with anticipation for the annual block party in Wildwood that my family has attended every year since I can remember.  Family, friends, food, fun, and our neighbor’s famous lemoncello that they marinate for the whole year! Picnic table to picnic table filled with endless options of fellow friends’ secret recipes.  Pulled pork, burgers sizzling on the grill, Italian pasta salad, dip after dip, and, of course, the dessert table.

Remember that fortunately this is not your final feast. It is not rude to say no thank you to Aunt Maggie’s triple layer dip if it’s not your absolute favorite.  Choose wisely, choose what you really want, and start with one serving or even just a half of a portion of a few things you enjoy.  Wait fifteen minutes before you go up for seconds. Remember to embrace the scene around you. Engage, converse, and have fun being active by walking, jogging, or playing games. Here are a few other helpful tips to keep yourself on a healthy course this summer:

HEALTHY SUMMER TIP 1: Rookie Mistake – Don’t Go Hungry

I cannot tell you how many times I thought this was the way to go.  Going to a picnic, BBQ, or your favorite restaurant starving offers no benefit – not to you or those that you are likely competing with for food when you all have demanding hunger pains. Eat balanced meals throughout the day. Recognize if you plan to indulge a little later, limit your portions and refrain from sweet treats earlier in the day!


You don’t have to be a five-star chef to make a healthy contribution to a summer picnic or friendly gathering.  Make something you enjoy with less guilt. This way you know that there are healthy options at the picnic! Trust me when I say a healthy and delicious dish is not only a huge hit, but much appreciated for those focusing on a healthy, happy summer, too!

salad        cut veggies

HEALTHY SUMMER TIP 3: If you cut it…they will eat!

Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant and colorful this time of the year.  Not only are they packed with nutrients and fiber, but they are a great snack for the whole family.  However, the trick is to make sure that the fruit and vegetables are already cut up and in containers in your fridge.  Kids are more likely to snack on foods that are ready to eat. Hungry bellies and little fingers will go for the closest things to them.  So make efforts this summer to shop fresh and avoid processed and unhealthy snack choices.  After all, if you keep the cookies, chips, and other sweet treats out of the house, you will be more likely to snack on fruits and vegetables. You will also have less guilt when you do choose to indulge at a picnic or your favorite local ice cream shop this summer!

hydration hydration hydration hydration


Often thirst is misinterpreted for hunger! Whether you are outside, at the beach, on the run, or even at work, make a point to have a water bottle near by to prevent dehydration and misunderstood hunger signals.  If you are like my father, and despise the “taste” of water, try unsweetened teas, fruit or herb infused waters, or a sparkling variety!  One of my favorite infusion concoctions is mango, ginger, and mint!


Kate Coleman
Kate Coleman
General Manager
Registered Dietitian
Dartcor Food Services

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