Crisp, juicy watermelon.
Running through the sprinkler.
Digging in the garden.
Some of the best aspects of summer fall right in line with healthy living. Bright, sweet fruits and crunchy vegetables are abundant. Long, warm hours of sunshine mean heading outside for walks, tending to your garden, or riding your bike.
Yet summer also can bring challenges. For those of us who have young kids at home, we are on summer vacation which is a significant change in routine. Picnics might mean healthy foods, or they could mean macaroni salad, potato chips, and abundant desserts.
No matter the challenges your summer brings, here are seven ways to stay healthy as a family this summer.
7 Ways to Stay Healthy as a Family This Summer
With these healthy ideas, your summer will be fun while at the same time good for your health.
1. Family Devotions
Every season, devotions bring your family together to focus on Jesus, our Savior. Paul tell us in 1 Timothy 4:8, "for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."
Here are some helpful resources for your family devotion time together:
The Everyday Faith Calendar (this comes out monthly on the CPH blog)
2. Routine is good
As much as part of the joy of summer is a break from routine, in my experience kids need some type of structure to their days. Here is a Teen Summer Tracker, helpful if your children are tempted to lounge around watching TV and playing video games. For younger kids, stick with a summer schedule that includes reading, chores, and plenty of fun time, too.
As adults, we too need our routines. All year long, I get up at 5:30 AM for a daily workout in order to maintain my 100-pound weight loss. I might be doing activities with my kids in the summer, but I know I need to keep up my workouts to stay fit.
3. Host a Challenge
Consider hosting a family fitness challenge. Some ideas: have a fruits and veggies challenge, a steps-counting challenge, or a minutes-of-fitness challenge. Offer prizes to the winners or, even better, offer a family prize if everyone works together to achieve the goal.
4. Try New Healthy Foods
Summer is the perfect time to try new fruits and vegetables. For fruits, consider star fruit, jackfruit, or kumquats; asparagus, spaghetti squash, or rutabaga are great vegetables to try. Many vegetables taste amazing when grilled.
5. Head Outside
It seems obvious that summer is the time to head outside, but let's face it, the call of TV, video games, smartphones—even house work—make it tempting to stay indoors. (And I'll admit it, I am happy to have air-conditioning.) Plan for some time outside every day playing in the yard or doing yard work, gardening, or going to the pool together.
6. Go Camping
There's something about camping that brings a family together. Every family member works as you set up camp, cook meals over the fire, and hike. Plus, there's something amazing about sitting around the campfire together in the evening telling stories and roasting marshmallows.
Walking is an ideal physical activity for most people. Our bodies were made to walk. I've read that in Jesus' time, people walked an average of 7 to 15 miles per day. We can certainly get outside and walk a few miles most days. Head to a local park or just walk around your neighborhood. Consider hiking or exploring places you've never visited.
By using these seven strategies, you will be able to stay healthy as a family this summer. Which one are you going to try first?