During the casual, fun, lazy days of summer it’s easy to get distracted from our daily healthy habits. Vacations, family gatherings, weddings, socializing with friends, beach days, camping and other summer activities are filled with fun foods, outdoor eating, treats, ice cream, alcohol and other unhealthy goodies.
I’m a big proponent of enjoying our lives. The summer is a time when we slacken off a bit, ease up on our hectic schedules and routines and relax into the heat and slower pace.
For me to maintain sanity and energy, so I can actually enjoy the summer, I have to find a balance point. So while we’re playing and kicking back we can still be mindful of our choices and not completely sabotage our healthy efforts.
Here are eight tips for mindful summer eating:
- Practice being more present and in the moment during mealtimes. Whatever you’re eating notice the sight, smell, taste, texture of the food.
- Chew and breathe while eating. Savour each bite. Put your fork down between bites. Take a breath. Chew thoroughly.
- Know what foods work for you and try to choose them more often than ones that drain you, make you feel tired and cause digestive upset.
- Take advantage of the bounty of light and nourishing seasonal summer foods. Dark leafy greens, juicy watermelons, plump berries, delicate summer squashes and zucchinis, vine ripened tomatoes and cucumbers. So many yummy foods to choose from.
- Eat local. While traveling stop at roadside stands, drop by farmers markets, harvest your own at U-pick farms, learn about foraging in your own back yard. Getting closer to the source is a great way to bring mindfulness.
- Before reaching for the junky snack foods, pause and notice if you are truly physically hungry or are you filling up an unmet emotional need. Maybe you’re thirsty. Maybe you need some exercise. Notice what your body is trying to tell you.
- Think raw. Since we have so many great fruits and vegetables in season right now it is a great time to add more raw foods to your diet. They keep us cooler and the fiber provides so many digestive and medicinal benefits.
- Let go of any guilt, judgment or criticism when you do find yourself eating unconsciously.
Over to you. What makes it hard for you to stay on track during the summer? What’s one thing you do to be mindful about your health? Tell me in the comments below.
This post first appeared here in the Community Herald on July 31, 2013.