Summer is filled with fun, sun, travel, and many social functions. It's a time of year when it's hard to maintain consistency with your nutrition habits because of a lack of routine and more socializing opportunities. The habits you worked on so hard in the first part of the year start to slip away or get put entirely on the back burner until the fall.
But it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing approach to your nutrition in the summer months. There are still plenty of simple habits you can maintain, even in less-than-ideal circumstances, that will go a long way. So, regardless of how long you have been focusing on your nutrition (whether you committed a while ago or want to start building some better habits), we have some tips for you to help you master the basics with your nutrition and maintain success through the summer months.
Tip #1: SET SOME DAILY MINIMUMS
Instead of using the summer months as an excuse to give up on your nutrition until fall, set some minimum attainable daily habits you want to maintain throughout the summer. Notice we said attainable — this means something you CAN achieve. Nothing over the top.
Here are some examples:
Water Habit: Start every day with a glass of water. This water habit can help set the tone for getting more water in throughout the day and help you start the day with a win! You can also typically do this at home, in a hotel room, or while traveling. Water is so important in the summer months because you are typically more active, sweating, and possibly enjoying some adult beverages.
For more water tips click HERE.
Fruits And Veggies Habit: Set a daily habit of getting 1-2 servings of fruits and veggies daily.
That could be packing an apple for your travel day or grabbing a banana. You could even order a side of veggies with your French toast breakfast. You might have days where you get more than 1-2 servings in, but the idea here is you have a minimum to maintain or hit.
Consuming enough fruits and vegetables daily can help your body in a variety of different ways. They are packed with nutrients and can allow you to feel more satiated from your meals when you incorporate them regularly. For more tips on fruits and veggies and why they are important click HERE.
Protein:Kick off your day with some protein. Since protein can be more challenging to find when you are at social functions or maybe if you are traveling, try to start your day with a solid amount. Protein is also great for allowing you to feel more satisfied from your meals which can help with the increased snacking at social functions. A great goal would be to have a Palm Size Serving with your breakfast!
For more information about protein and why it's important click HERE.
Meal Prep: Instead of maintaining an extensive meal prep that takes a ton of time — customize! Lean into simpler meals or bulk meal prep to make life less stressful and more accessible to stay consistent.
These are just a few examples of the nutrition habits you can set for your daily minimums in the summer. The key here is not to set habits that are too rigid. You can always go above the minimum on days when it works, but this makes you feel more successful and less like you're failing at an unsustainable plan.
Tip #2: EAT REGULARLY
Summer months can be more challenging because of lack of routine. Your body is often triggered by your routine/habits that will then spur your action. For example, when you are at work your lunch break is a cue for your brain that you need to eat. Without these daily triggers or reminders we can sometimes forget to eat which causes us to fall face first in a bag of chips. Sticking with somewhat of a regular eating routine can allow you to not get to the point you are starving and eat everything in sight. This might mean setting reminders on your phone to have meals at certain times, or even prepping your meals even if you have no place to go.
Tip #3: BALANCE YOUR PLATE WHEN YOU CAN
Balancing your plate can ensure you are eating enough of each macronutrient and help you to feel more satisfied from your meals.Try to aim to build your plate at each meal so it contains all three of our macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Protein: Aim for the source to be as high protein and high quality as possible when possible. Things like meat (poultry, beef, fish, game meats), eggs/egg whites, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, or even protein powder if you are in a pinch!
Carbohydrates: Incorporate items like oats, rice, sweet potatoes, certain breads, or even from some of your favorite fruits! Having tortilla chips and salsa? Throw in some veggies to dip too!
Fats: Try a variety of nuts/nut butter, avocado, seeds, or your favorite oils. Going to a summer BBQ? Bring a big old salad with oil and vinegar as the dressing!
Bonus: if you can get some veggies on that plate!
If you need a visual, picture your plate with:
- ½ covered in a mix of starchy carbs and veggies
- ¼ covered by your chosen protein source
- ¼ containing some healthy fats
For more information on the Balanced Plate Method CLICK HERE.
Tip #4: SET A BRIGHT LINE FOR YOURSELF
"Bright Lines" is a very straightforward plan or "rule" that you will stick to. It's like drawing a bright line in the sand for what you are going to do. YOU set the bright lines, but it has to be something you mean.
For example, rather than "I'm going to drink less alcohol on vacation," you could say, "I will only drink on Friday and Saturday nights on vacation and will limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per evening." Setting these bright lines makes it significantly easier to hold yourself accountable.
Your bright lines are endless for the different areas of your life and how you use them. You can apply the same logic to your nutrition this summer. For example, rather than "I'm going to skip all the fun foods at the BBQ," you could say, "I will load up one plate of what I want to eat and fit whatever I want on it, but when my plate is empty, I am done eating."
Remember, the Bright Lines can't be broad. They need to be specific and concise.
While we are on the topic of alcohol, here are a few practical tips:
- Faux-tail can save the day! If you want to skip the drinks, try getting a tasty summer drink without the booze, or opt for a soda water and lime to help you mingle without feeling pressure.
- Offer to be the designated driver to the BBQ or party. That way, you remove the option to drink.
- Set an alcohol budget. Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol.
- Avoid buying alcohol or having it in the house. Instead, save your drinks for when you go out!
Tip #5: DON’T LET YOUR INDULGENCES BE AN EXCUSE TO GIVE UP
You will have days or trips where you overdo and have some fun — so what! The most important thing to remember is not to give up altogether. You don't need to wait until fall or back to school to "get back on it." You are simply one bite or meal away from making another decision. Try not to get into the trap of letting some overindulging be the excuse for why you don't put in any effort with your nutritional habits this summer.
One Last Thing…
Now it's important to mention your BIG vacations out of the year should be enjoyed. We don't want you guys trying to hold this rigid standard for your one vacation out of the year. These tips would be great for the in-between vacations and trips that can often add up.
Remember, the simple stuff still counts, even if it looks slightly different than the rest of the year.