Disclosure: I partnered with Tufts Medical Center to write this post, and all ideas included here are mine.
One of the mantras in my family is “to take care of your body.” I use that phrase to explain to my kids why they have to brush their teeth, go to sleep on time, wash their hands before eating, and get exercise. I also use it when explaining why a balanced diet is important, emphasizing that what we put into our mouths is the fuel that makes our bodies run. Eat more fruit and go easy on the sweets, I say, so you can have a strong body and feel good. My kids, so far, have embraced this idea (though, when faced with ice cream, all bets are off), and I have been pleased with how well they’ve gravitated toward the good stuff – vegetables especially!
This summer, I’ve focused the mantra on me. I’ve decided that it’s not just “take care of my body,” but it’s “be a better me,” or “take care of my body by making smart choices.” After months of not feeling like myself, I’m finally finding more energy, as the summer heat has settled in—and I love the way it makes me feel. I’ve been outside more (covered in sunblock, of course), exercising, and reassessing the food I eat. I’ve cut down on sugar and alcohol, and, like I encourage my kids, increased my vegetable intake. This has been easy to do thanks to our local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share and my town’s farmer’s market. Each week, when the kids and I pick up our CSA share, we pack up a bag of organic kale, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, kohlrabi, carrots, corn, and herbs. We walk through the farm’s fields, too, picking some of our share, and it’s there that my kids have learned that baby tomatoes off the vine taste just as sweet as any dessert. A visit to the farmer’s market has us coming home with locally made organic whole grain bread and locally grown berries and apples. These foods form the base for a week of good eating and taking care of our bodies.
It turns out that my instincts for summer eating—and for healthier eating overall—are aligned with the recommendations of the wellness team at Tufts Medical Center.
They suggest that their clients create a diet of “habitual nourishment that you provide for yourself on a daily basis,” rather than meals of denial or restrictions. They also recommend “listening to your body and learning intuitive ways to manage your hunger and your weight” with a mix of protein, high fiber carbohydrates, and heart healthy fats. More tips from the wellness team can be found online here.
How can you keep the good eating going when summer is over? Just because back to school season is around the corner (and already arrived in some parts of the country) doesn’t mean that the healthy summer diet should end. In fact, a day at school calls for even more brainpower than summer days at the beach. So, I’m freezing CSA vegetables for the winter and stocking up on healthy snacks to make sure my family has “be healthy” at the top of our to do list.