The summer months offer a prime opportunity to enjoy more time spent outdoors, increase physical activity, and take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are more plentiful this time of year. This should provide all the motivation you need to refresh habits, especially healthier eating. For our aging senior population, a healthy diet can have a profound impact on their overall health and quality of life. Keep reading for simple, common-sense tips for eating healthier during the summer.
Shop the Perimeter
Healthy eating begins by making healthy food options easy and accessible. This starts in the grocery store or market! When you plan your meals and menus, be intentional about packing your plate with fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. The fresher the better! Here’s a helpful tip. Fresh produce is most often displayed around the perimeter of a grocery store. The processed and canned foods are what you find in all the aisles in between. Focus the bulk of your shopping on items you find in the fresh produce section, dairy and milk aisles, and meat sections. When you load the majority of your cart with items you find in the perimeter, you can be confident your meals will focus on fresh.
Choose In-Season Options
A quick internet search or talking with a knowledgeable friend will yield a wealth of information as to what foods are in season throughout the year. Research foods that are in-season during the summer months in your local region and explore recipes that focus on these foods. During the summer this is most often fruits like watermelon and berries or vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and zucchini. And the list goes on and on! Find local farmers’ markets near you and explore the options available. If it’s in abundance, you can bet that it’s in season!
Keep It Simple
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. The most sustainable diets are ones that are simple and even a bit routine. Find the fruits and vegetables you enjoy and incorporate these into most meals. It’s okay to eat similar things in a routine – in fact, the healthiest diets are fairly routine! But don’t assume that simple needs to be boring either. An easy-to-prepare meal can be delicious and rich in flavor even if it doesn’t require a whole lot of time or ingredients. Spices are a great way to make the same ingredients taste different for different meals. Get inspired by internet recipes that use different spices to create new flavors. The sky is the limit!
Do It Together
And finally, we are all better at sticking to good habits when we do it together. If you live with someone, make a commitment to eating healthier together. You can share in shopping and cooking responsibilities which will lighten the task and make it a communal activity. Focus on celebrating your food choices! Every meal can feel like a special occasion when you make the preparation and experience shared with someone else. Best of all, when the meal supplies your body with important vitamins and nutrients, you will feel better and grow healthier together.
Are you making a commitment to eating healthier this summer? Think of how making changes to your own habits can inspire those around you to do the same. Summer is the perfect season to get started!