Don’t procrastinate in having fun in the last days of summer! Get out and enjoy the weather with lots of physical activity within nature. Shop farmer’s markets for field-fresh produce, often picked that day. And take advantage of longer days and shorter nights during the season of relaxation. This vital time helps your body to recharge and gear up for back-to-school and back-to-work, so don’t waste a day!
How do you make the most of the last summer month? Here are 5 ways:
1. Enjoy the season’s bounty by changing what you eat. Make light but filling vegetable-based meals combining all food groups. Pair corn on the cob with fresh steamed broad beans topped with garlic, and cold gazpacho soup made with fresh tomatoes, green onion and cucumber. Add watermelon, blueberries or strawberries to green salads sprinkled with seeds and feta cheese. Shred zucchini and make fuss-free fritters that include a little Parmesan, eggs and fresh dill. Grill eggplant slices and top with a dollop of fresh basil pesto or tomato sauce and mozzarella. Swap the meat in tacos for roasted cauliflower and pan-fried chickpeas, adding the usual spices and cilantro to the mix along with avocado slices.
2. Accept that long days mean shorter nights. Lamenting the lack of sleep when the sun gets up early and birds waken you an hour before you need to rise? Don’t fight it. If you can’t get back to sleep, take the opportunity to go outside in the early morning hours when all is quiet and the air is warm and fresh. A magical calmness in nature will entice you to take a walk in a nearby park or begin work in the garden a little earlier. These outings may be the hours you cherish most when looking back during cold winter mornings. And…nobody said you can’t take an afternoon nap.
3. In honour of summer, change your cooking style. Rethink canned and frozen soups and vegetables, and make every dinner from scratch to enjoy the season’s flavour. Reduce root vegetables and other out-of-season veggies until fall harvest. Research easy recipes that don’t require the oven. Invest in a wok and pile it high with colourful quick-fry veggies of all varieties. You probably fired-up the barbeque a few months ago, but the latest outdoor equipment like super-tiny, lightweight propane stoves and griddles make picnics-on-the-go a breeze!
4. Celebrate the season by learning a new activity. Never tried croquet or bocce ball? Haven’t played badminton or beach volleyball for years? Try them! Borrow the kids’ baseball gloves and play catch with your mate. Play in the water: get out the hose or sprinkler if you don't have access to a lake or ocean to splash around in. Buy a kiddy pool to stay cool. Sure, it's meant for children, but it can be great fun for an adult, too. Add music, a cold drink, sunglasses and sunblock and you’re set for an afternoon. Make your dog walks more interesting for you and your pet: play soccer with your dog (buy a ball especially for this use in case your kids’ ball gets destroyed with a tooth puncture) or take it to the park for a game of Frisbee.
5. Don’t throw healthy habits out the window! Blissful summer holidays mean vacations with friends and family, but you want to feel refreshed at the end of the season, not in need of recuperation. On hot days, sipping fruity nonalcoholic cocktails is the best way to cool off. Get creative with blender drinks such as honeydew, fresh mint and ginger topped with sparkling water, or a pina colada mocktail with coconut milk, pineapple and lime juice. Take note of long hours staring at books (print or digital versions) under the sun’s glare, limiting this time and protecting eyes. Wear the proper summer footwear that has support when walking on rough sand and other surfaces that promote blisters and calluses. And when you’re too busy or it’s too hot to have lunch, opt for nutrient-dense shakes with an added greens supplement or veggie protein powder to make sure you have the energy for those activities with kids.