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Summer Health Tips: Staying Healthy Over Summer Break with Balanced Diet and Exercise

Ah, summer break! It’s a time for relaxation, fun, and a well-deserved break from school routines. But with this break can come a few challenges, especially when it comes to staying healthy. Without the structured schedule of school days, it’s easy to find ourselves slipping into habits like snacking a bit too often, lounging around more than moving, or getting tempted by all those tasty (but not always healthy) treats.

But here’s the good news! Summer also offers a fantastic opportunity to focus on maintaining a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise—without the rush and strict timetables of the school year. It’s the perfect time to explore new activities and foods that keep us feeling great. Achieving a healthy summer is all about embracing these opportunities to stay physically fit and mentally strong, ensuring our well-being throughout the vibrant season.

At the Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research (CHEAR), we recognize that family involvement is crucial in the treatment of overweight and obesity. Our approach is built on the understanding that sustainable health changes are most effective when supported by a nurturing environment.

We actively encourage families to participate in the treatment process, providing them with the tools and knowledge necessary to support their loved ones. Through a variety of programs, counseling sessions, and educational resources, families learn together about nutrition, physical activity, and the behavioral changes that lead to healthier lifestyles. This collective learning not only fosters a supportive atmosphere at home but also strengthens the overall effectiveness of the treatment, making family involvement a cornerstone of our methodology at CHEAR.

Setting Up a Routine

One of the secrets to making the most of your summer break is establishing a good routine. It sounds a bit dull, right? But hear us out—having a plan doesn’t mean there’s no room for fun! In fact, setting up a daily schedule for meals and physical activities can actually add to your summer enjoyment. It helps keep everyone from feeling bored or out of sorts and ensures that both fun and health are on the day’s menu.

Establish a Schedule

Find inspiration for crafting a schedule on Pinterest. Get your friends involved and make a plan that works for you.

Encourage your family to sit down and draft a simple daily plan. Decide on regular times for meals to keep those random snack attacks at bay. Also, pencil in daily times for getting active, whether it’s morning stretches, an afternoon swim, or an evening walk. This isn’t just about keeping order; it’s about making sure everyone has something to look forward to each day.

Incorporate Variety

Create salads and smoothies with new fruits, like this dragon fruit, packed with nutrients.

Now, about those meals and snacks—summer is the perfect time to shake things up. Why not introduce some new fruits and vegetables that aren’t usually on your shopping list? Ever tried dragon fruit, jicama, or kohlrabi? How about whipping up a smoothie with different combinations each day? Getting creative with your food choices not only keeps your diet interesting but can also be a fun activity for the whole family. Plus, exploring new foods is a great way to develop healthier eating habits together!

By setting up a routine and mixing up your meal plan, you’re well on your way to a healthier, happier summer break. Keep it light, keep it fun, and enjoy the vibrant energy that the sunny season brings! Encouraging families to explore new recipes together can introduce a delightful variety into their meals and snacks.

Fun and Healthy Eating

Summer is the perfect backdrop for sprinkling some extra fun into our meals, especially when we involve the whole family in the kitchen! Cooking together isn’t just a way to whip up some delicious dishes—it’s also a fantastic opportunity to bond, learn, and instill healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. Dinner presents an excellent chance to explore healthy dinner options that are both quick and flavorful, such as a refreshing taco salad, perfect for a warm evening.

Cooking Together

Grill a satisfying lunch outdoors in the summer sun like this family.

Grab those aprons, and let’s get cooking! Turn meal preparation into a family affair by assigning everyone a task. Younger kids can wash fruits and veggies, teens might chop or mix, and adults can handle the cooking. Make it more engaging by having theme nights like “Taco Tuesday” or “Smoothie Saturday,” where you experiment with healthy recipes. This not only makes cooking fun but also teaches children the value of good nutrition and the joy of creating meals.


Stay hydrated with delicious cucumber water and enjoy a healthy summer.

As temperatures rise, the importance of staying hydrated becomes crucial, especially during summer when the risk of dehydration increases due to heat, outdoor activities, and the depletion of the body’s water reserves. But let’s admit it—drinking plain water all day can get a little boring. Why not jazz it up? Involve the kids in making fruit-infused waters as a tasty, healthy alternative to sugary drinks. Slice up lemons, limes, oranges, berries, or even cucumber and herbs like mint or basil, and let them float in a pitcher of ice-cold water. Not only does this make hydrating more exciting, but it also adds a pop of flavor without the added sugars. Plus, it’s visually appealing, and who can resist a colorful, fruity water on a hot day?

Here are three tasty combinations of fruits and vegetables that you can use to flavor your water:

Cucumber and Mint with a Splash of Lime

Ingredients: Thin slices of cucumber, fresh mint leaves, and a few slices of lime.

Flavor Profile: This combination offers a cool, refreshing taste. Cucumber adds a mild sweetness, mint gives a burst of freshness, and lime provides a zesty citrus kick.

Strawberry and Basil with Orange

Ingredients: Sliced strawberries, fresh basil leaves, and a few slices of orange.

Flavor Profile: The sweet and fruity flavor of strawberries complements the subtle peppery taste of basil, while orange slices add a tangy depth, making this a vibrant and aromatic water.

Lemon and Ginger with Blueberries

Ingredients: Slices of lemon, fresh ginger slices, and a handful of blueberries.

Flavor Profile: Lemon and ginger offer a spicy-citrusy zest that is both invigorating and soothing, while blueberries infuse a slight tartness and sweetness, creating a beautifully balanced drink.

These approaches to mealtime and hydration will not only keep everyone healthy but also bring a lot of laughter and learning to your summer days. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the process as much as the healthy meals you create together!

Incorporating Physical Activity

Ah, summer—the perfect time to get moving and shake up our routine with some fun physical activities. Whether you’re a beach bum, a trail trekker, or someone who enjoys a casual stroll around the neighborhood, there’s no shortage of ways to keep your body active and energized during these sunny months. Engaging in outdoor activities is a fantastic way to stay active, but it’s important to be cautious of the heat to ensure safety and enjoyment.

Find Activities You Enjoy

Stay safe outdoors while you access family fun.

Why not make the most of the great outdoors? Summer is ideal for hiking through nature trails, biking down scenic paths, splashing around in the pool, or even joining local sports leagues. These activities aren’t just good for the body; they’re a blast for the soul too! Consider signing up for a family-friendly class like yoga in the park or aqua aerobics. It’s all about finding what makes you and your family excited to move—when you enjoy the activities, sticking to them becomes a breeze!

Daily Exercise Goals

Let your inspiration to meet daily exercise goals come from friends.

To keep everyone motivated, why not set some friendly daily exercise goals? Something as simple as a step challenge can be really engaging. Equip everyone with a pedometer or use a smartphone app to track your steps. Set a daily goal—say, 10,000 steps—and see who can reach or exceed it! You can even turn it into a little competition with a fun reward at the end of the week for the “top stepper.” It’s a great way to encourage more movement and a little friendly competition can add to the fun.

Integrating physical activity into your summer doesn’t have to be a chore—it can be one of the highlights of your day! Whether it’s through exploring new activities or setting goals to beat, staying active should feel like a joy, not a job. So lace up those sneakers, slap on some sunscreen, and get ready to enjoy a fit and fabulous summer!

Balance and Moderation

Summer is synonymous with ice cream trucks, backyard barbecues, and leisurely days lounging with our favorite digital devices. While all these are part of the fun, keeping a sense of balance and moderation ensures that we enjoy the season to its fullest without overdoing it. Recognizing the unique challenges to mental health that summer can bring is crucial, and maintaining this balance is key to prioritizing our mental well-being, incorporating mindfulness, stress management techniques, and seeking support when needed.

Enjoy Treats in Moderation

Enjoy treats in moderation or find a healthy recipe for a food you consider healthy summer, like this avocado ice cream.

Let’s face it, no summer is complete without the occasional scoop of ice cream or a slice of watermelon pie at the family picnic. And that’s perfectly okay! The key is to enjoy these delights in moderation. Treat yourself to these seasonal goodies without guilt by savoring them slowly and in smaller portions. Maybe pair that ice cream with a day of active play or a bike ride, so it feels like a well-earned reward. Remember, moderation is about balance, not deprivation. By allowing yourself to indulge wisely, you maintain a healthy relationship with food that doesn’t feel restrictive.

Balancing Screen Time

Staying physically active during the heat of summer may be hard, but it's better to exercise than binge.

With the longer days, it’s tempting to spend extra time binge-watching series or scrolling through social media. While relaxing is important, it’s equally crucial to balance screen time with physical activity. Set a family challenge where for every hour spent on screens, an equal amount of time is spent doing something active. Create a “screen time bank” where everyone logs their screen hours and then ‘withdraws’ those hours in the form of physical activities like walking the dog, dancing, swimming, or just playing tag in the yard. This not only helps in keeping physically active but also in making the most of family time.

Embracing balance and moderation this summer means you can have your cake (or ice cream!) and eat it too, all while staying active and healthy. This approach ensures that everyone enjoys summer’s pleasures without going overboard, creating a season filled with joyful memories and healthy habits.

Embracing a Healthy Summer

As we wrap up our summer guide, let’s take a moment to recap the wonderful benefits of maintaining a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity. Not only do these habits help us feel our best, but they also inject extra joy and energy into our sunny days. Keeping up with healthy eating fuels our bodies with the nutrients we need to enjoy every summer adventure, while staying active helps us soak up the beautiful weather and keeps our spirits high.

In addition to nutrition and exercise, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of sun protection as part of a healthy summer. Applying broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapplying it every two hours, or after swimming or sweating, is essential to shield the skin from harmful UV rays and to prevent sunburn, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Wearing wide-brimmed hats, along with lightweight long sleeves and UV-protective sunglasses, further safeguards our skin from the sun’s damaging effects.

This summer, let’s use this time as an opportunity to strengthen our habits around health and wellness. It’s a perfect chance to build a foundation that can carry over into the busy school year. By establishing routines that prioritize balanced meals, daily activity, and effective sun protection, we set a positive, healthy tone that can make the transition back to school smoother and more vibrant.

We encourage all families to dive into the joys of summer with enthusiasm and mindfulness. Remember, keeping your health in check doesn’t mean sacrificing fun. It’s all about finding the right balance that works for you and your family, so you can enjoy every moment of this season to the fullest.

Let’s make this summer a time of delightful experiences, nurturing not just our bodies but also our bonds with each other. Here’s to a summer filled with health, happiness, and a whole lot of sunshine!