I’ve always loved summer, but something about this one feels a little extra special.
Most of us have been quarantined for most of the last year. Things that brought us comfort and joy – spending time with family and friends, eating out at restaurants, playing team sports – suddenly got hit with a massive, indefinite pause.
We felt that impact as cookouts, outdoor concerts, street fairs, and picnics went on the backburner in 2020. Cherished summer events like a cross-country drive to see friends or that annual Maui vacation got postponed or canceled.
Slowly, we’re turning to normal. Along with social restrictions being lifted, this summer feels like a return to the things that we love and cherish.
Let’s use this opportunity to create a new, health-focused normal. A summer makeover allows the perfect way to upgrade a few essentials. Create healthy patterns now, and you’ll carry those habits beyond the warm weather.
Summer Makeover #1: Make Over Breakfast
Where I live in Tampa, Florida, summer temperatures can already be rather toasty in the early morning. On those mornings, cooking breakfast over a hot stove doesn’t feel even remotely inviting.
Grabbing something pre-made at your local coffee shop or bakery can be convenient. But most of these choices – even the “healthy” ones like packaged oatmeals and cereals – stall your ability to be the best fat burner.
Remember that breakfast sets your day’s metabolic tone. That muffin (AKA adult cupcake) that you scarf down at 7 a.m. with a latte is a high-sugar impact bomb set to go off a few hours later. When it does, you’re suddenly hungry and craving those double-fudge brownies your daughter brought home from the bake sale.
Makeover strategy: This summer, vow to do breakfast differently! Swap that sugary breakfast that stalls fat loss for a fast, simple protein shake. With a shake, you have ample opportunity to pack in leafy greens and other high-fiber foods you might not get enough of otherwise.
One of my favorites is this yummy Berry Cobbler Protein Shake. This shake is tailor-made for summer! It combines mixed organic berries and a delicious vanilla flavor for a creamy, satisfying breakfast that takes minutes to make but keeps you full for hours.
Summer Makeover #2: Make Over Your Workout
Most people I know have lots of things scheduled into their summer days: Beach volleyball, barbecues, and other social obligations often get juggled with work and shuttling kids to and from their own events.
In that hustle, don’t forget to schedule fast, focused fitness.
Especially with the warmer weather here, you don’t want to spend hours in a spin class or trudging along on a treadmill. With the right approach, you can get a more efficient workout in less time than it takes to find a parking space at your favorite coffee shop.
Makeover strategy: Get outdoors with some burst training! I suggest fitting a workout in the morning, before the heat and day’s craziness kick in. The park, beach, or pool are perfect places to do burst training. You can get an intense, full-body workout in less than 10 minutes. Learn more about burst training here.
Summer Makeover #3: Make Over Your Restaurant Meal
I love dining al fresco in the summer. There’s something glorious about being outside among friends, enjoying the relaxed vibe, soaking up an evening breeze.
While more restaurants offer gluten-free or other healthy options, that doesn’t let you off the hook. I’ve ordered gluten-free dishes that came breaded or drowning in creamy sauces, and what some restaurants consider “healthy” sometimes isn’t.
Makeover strategy: Don’t let one restaurant meal derail your healthy eating! Become friends with your server: Ask questions before you order. See the menu as suggestions, not absolutes.
Most restaurants have online menus, so you can make up your mind before you arrive. (Bonus: You get to people-watch while everyone else stares at their menu!) A few simple restaurant tweaks can make you into a better fat burner.
- Don’t even let that breadbasket go down! Ask for a plate of olives instead to start your meal.
- Swap that loaded baked potato for another green vegetable. Order something you wouldn’t normally fix at home, like Brussels sprouts with garlic drizzled with olive oil.
- You don’t need to totally abstain from dessert, especially if your favorite bistro has a well-reputed sweet treat. That doesn’t mean you have to devour the whole thing. Instead, have 3 polite bites: What you would eat on national TV, not in your kitchen at 11 p.m. Be aware that many restaurant desserts contain gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and/ or other food intolerances, so proceed accordingly.
Summer Makeover #4: Make Over Your Cookouts
Firing up the grill with close friends or family and maybe a few adult beverages or Peach & Mint Iced Green Tea (get the recipe here) makes an ideal way to spend a sunny July Sunday afternoon. But step away from the hot dogs and potato salad, and don’t even take a sip of those high-sugar impact cocktails.
Makeover strategy: Volunteer to bring a dish. That will ensure at least you have one “safe” option to choose among. I usually volunteer to bring some veggies like portobello mushrooms, which will please your Paleo-diet and vegan guests.
If that’s not an option, ask for your grilled chicken or grass-fed burger in a Romaine lettuce or cabbage wrap and load up on whatever non-starchy veggies you can find.
Of course, any cookout wouldn’t be complete without dessert. I can guarantee that these Gluten-Free Collagen Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies will be a hit at your next gathering. They’re portable and – shhh, don’t tell anyone! – super healthy.
Summer Makeover #5: Make Over Your Evening
More of us are working from home these days. Moving from your desk to the couch in the evening becomes all too easy if you don’t have an exit strategy.
For me, a gorgeous sunset is a wistful reminder that summer goes by quickly. Get outside and enjoy the warm weather, because summer won’t be here forever.
Makeover strategy: Work some active, outdoor relaxation into your evening plans. An after-dinner walk makes a great way to help your body digest dinner and enjoy (hopefully!) less humid weather.
As you move into bedtime, focus on your sleep hygiene. A hot bath, some chamomile tea, and a good (but not great!) novel are perfect ways to end a busy day.
One final reminder as the days stay longer: Maintain stellar sleep. Trust me, I know how late-night get-togethers and long days by the water can cut into your sleep schedule. But I promise you, everything gets better when you get a great night’s sleep. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, Sleep Candy ™ is my go-to for deep, consistent, restorative shut-eye.