Summertime means no school, warmer weather, and plenty of opportunities for families to have fun in the sun. It’s easy to get caught up in the joys of summer and forget about health and wellness, but it is so important to continue to practice healthy habits in the summer months. Thankfully, there are a few easy things you can do to keep your family healthy this summer. We had a chance to meet with Emily Gideon, Nutrition Specialist from Hurley Wellness Services.
Here is some of the insight she shared to help support healthy families this summer.
Stock Up on Fruits and Veggies
Many fruits and vegetables are in season during the summer, which makes it easy to stock up on healthy options. Foods like squash, tomatoes, berries, and watermelon truly flourish when the weather gets hot, so take advantage of foods that are readily available. In season fruits and vegetables are often cheaper and bigger than ones that are shipped out-of-season, so you’ll get more bang for your buck by shopping for in-season summer fruits and vegetables.
Shop the Farmers’ Market
Summer means the re-emergence of local farmers’ markets, bringing the freshest foods straight from the farm to your table. Produce here is often fresher and cheaper than the produce at the supermarket, and you can interact with the people who grow the food directly. Buying food from the farmers’ market also supports local businesses, so it’s a great way to invest in your community. For the mid-Michigan area, be sure to check out the Flint Farmers’ Market, located at 300 East First Street. It is open Tuesday and Thursday, 9am-6pm, and Saturday, 8am-5pm. Hurley Medical Center also brings in a farmers’ market every Wednesday in the summer to provide easy access to healthy foods to the community.
The last thing anyone wants to do in the summer is to stand over a hot oven/stove to cook, which is why using the grill is a great option. Grilling is great for meat because not only does it give extra flavor, it reduces the amount of fat on the meat. Fruits and vegetables can also be put on the grill. Just be sure to cut them so they won’t slip through the grates. The folks at Hurley Wellness Services suggest grilling fruits like pineapple, mango, bananas, and peaches as an alternative to dessert. Grilling the fruit caramelizes the natural sugars in the fruit, making it a perfect healthy summer treat.
When the weather is beautiful and the sun is shining, it’s a perfect combination for family fun outdoors. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or an all-day affair. A simple walk after dinner is a great way for families to be active and include even the smallest members of the family. Going to the park is another great way for families to enjoy outdoor time together while staying close to home. Families with older children or a little more time can go for a bike ride or check out a local hiking trail. In Flint, two popular hiking options are Genesee Valley Trail and Stepping Stone Falls.
The human body is made up of about 60% water, so drinking enough water is essential when the weather warms up. In the summer heat, the body loses water more quickly and requires replenishment more frequently. Just sitting in the sun makes the body lose additional water, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids when you’re outside. To prevent dehydration, drink at least 8 glasses of water per day—more if you’re doing anything active outdoors. Hydration is often overlooked, but it is one of the most important aspects of summertime health.
Check Community Wellness Programs
There are so many wellness programs offered in Flint that go underutilized because people simply don’t know about them. Hurley Wellness Services offer a variety of programs for community health that are free or offered at low cost to families. They provide farmers’ markets, asthma and diabetes management programs, and quit-smoking classes for adults. Our friends at Hurley Wellness Services also provide opportunities for kids to attend summer camp at a reduced price based on financial need. Check out their website to find out more information about their summer programs by visiting hurleymc.com/wellness/programs/
Kudos magazine 5.3
By Daryn Green