Five Tips to Stay Mindful and Have Fun during Summer Celebrations

By Sheila Collins

Summer is in full swing and the best way to beat the heat is by spending time with the people you love. This July, we are gearing up for a month of barbeques, block parties, Independence Day picnics and family reunions! Sticking to your health goals doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the best part of summer: the celebrations! Here is our go-to guide to staying healthy while also having fun with family and friends. 

Mindful Eating 

Listen to your hunger cues. If you are hungry, eat! But before you grab a piece of Red White and Blue cake, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”. Your brain often confuses thirst with hunger.

Here’s an easy fix: Drink a glass of water before you eat to better understand what your hunger cues are telling you. If mindful eating proves difficult for you, eat before the event so you show up already satisfied. This will allow you to focus on the people around you instead of on the food table. 

Portion Control

Backyard barbeques often include a smorgasbord of mouth-watering treats. If your first instinct is to pile up your plate with one of everything, take a step back and make a game plan. First, pick the healthiest options at the BBQ (grilled chicken, veggies, or fruit) and eat them first. If you are still hungry, grab a small amount of the other, less nutritionally dense, options. This way you aren’t over eating foods that could set you backward on your health journey. 

Bring a Healthy Dish

If you know there will only be burgers and hot dogs, why not bring your own veggie patties or turkey burgers to grill? Bringing healthy alternatives to an event will give you peace of mind and will likely help out someone else who is trying to stay healthy. If it’s a potluck, bring something fresh to share like a large summer salad or a fruit and veggie tray! For recipe inspiration, check out our daily recipes in the Blog section and  “Cooking in Color” cookbook and recipes included in all Let’s Be Well Heart Boxes. 

Have a Health Buddy 

Ask a friend or family member to remind you to drink water and hold you accountable to your goals. It's never fun to feel isolated or different from the people around you. Finding someone who shares the same health priorities as you is one of the best ways to stay on track. With a health buddy, the two (or more) of you can enjoy that fresh slice of watermelon together. 

Think Before You Drink 

If you choose to consume alcohol during a summer gathering, know the risks and know your limits. There are a number of cardiovascular risks when it comes to alcohol consumption. Alcohol also increases caloric intake, which can lead to obesity and heighten risk of diabetes. Before you toast to summer, consult your doctor and be sure to know how alcohol may interact with any medications. For a healthier cocktail, make a boozy smoothie with fresh berries to get an extra boost of antioxidants. Also, use agave or honey instead of processed sugars in your beverage. Avoid sugary mixers like soda or pre-made margarita mix. And of course, stay hydrated by drinking water in between and alongside each alcoholic drink.

There is no reason to let your health goals stop you from being the life of the party. The key to having a good time while staying on track is moderation. Temptation is everywhere, but remind yourself that your health is your top priority. When you face a tempting treat or cocktail at a summer event, remember these tips and consult your doctor about what moderation should look like in your life. Don’t forget to share this blog with your health buddy!