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5 Healthier Ways to Hang Out This Summer

How to Keep Healthy When It’s Time to Get Social

The weather is warm and your social calendar is full with barbecues, happy hours and picnics in the park. The easy opportunities for socializing are part of what makes summer standout, but it’s just as easy for healthy habits to fall by the wayside.

So, the next time you’re out with friends or family, opt for one of these healthier options:

1. Cool Off With a Sweet Drink

Milkshakes sound great in the summer, but the calories and sugar can leave a sour taste. Seasonal fruits should be one of your summer staples anyway and a fruit smoothie is a pretty impressive substitute for an ice cream craving. Plus, there are plenty of health benefits. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and help ward off muscle fatigue, raspberries are a great source of fiber – one cup alone has eight grams of fiber – and tart cherries are delicious and actually help with fat burning. Keep it healthy, though, by making sure it doesn’t have any added sugar or processed fruit.

2. Host a Gathering

If you’re hosting a gathering, think about healthy barbecue options. Healthy grilling choices include veggie burgers, lean pork, bison, chicken and turkey. In addition, there’s a whole world of non-traditional items that are also delicious when grilled. Watermelon can be grilled and made into a watermelon salad, avocado and pineapple can also be grilled, adding a new flavor dimension to sandwiches and salads. Make a homemade salsa with fresh grilled sweet corn and tomatoes. Try grilling Yukon gold potatoes, radishes and Brussels sprouts for flavorful, healthy side dishes. Lightly tossed with olive oil and seasonings, they make a healthy option – without the mayonnaise that typically tops pasta or potato salad.

3. Dine Out

Dining out can be made even more nutritious when you consider a healthy protein. The choices are numerous. Consider salmon, tuna, lobster, clams or calamari – low-calorie, yet protein-packed. Many places also offer substitutes for the traditional beef burger – vegetarian, turkey, chicken or fish. Add an avocado on top and you’re also lowering your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood markers linked to heart disease. And instead of a side of mashed potatoes or pasta, try a side salad. If you must have dessert, consider a fruit sorbet instead of the decadent chocolate cake.

4. Attend a Picnic

Drive by any park this summer and you can easily spot the rows of tables set with calorie-laden dishes. Though delicious, family picnics tend to not be so nutritious.

But it’s easy to be delicious – and healthy – when you think outside the basket! Whole grain breads, hummus, yogurt, pita chips and fruit are great additions to your picnic. These savory and sweet treats are both satisfying and nutritious. You and your guests don’t have to feel guilty about snacking with these healthy items.

Pick up some summer produce, including root vegetables like yams, beets and carrots. These make healthy veggie chips when grilled and lightly tossed with olive oil and seasonings.

Leave store-bought popsicles behind. Add fresh chopped fruit and juice to ice pop molds for mouthwatering homemade popsicles.

5. Get Out and Exercise

The weather is ideal to get out and exercise. Go for a walk. You could also join a running club or cycling group or even join a friend for yoga. Don’t forget to check out your local park offerings! Many have group fitness events.