As we make our way through the summer, many of us worry about maintaining a healthy weight while still enjoying the festivities and flavors of the season. The warmer months bring unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to our health and wellness. By making mindful choices and incorporating some simple strategies into our daily routines, we can achieve a balance that allows us to feel our best while savoring all that summer has to offer. Here are ten practical tips to help you stay fit and energized during the sunny season:

1. Stay hydrated

Proper hydration is crucial for weight management and overall health, especially during the hot summer months. Our bodies can sometimes mistake thirst for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, and increase your intake if you’re spending time outdoors or engaging in physical activities. Keeping a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day can serve as a helpful reminder to stay hydrated.

2. Embrace seasonal produce

Summer offers a bountiful array of fresh fruits and vegetables, providing an excellent opportunity to incorporate more nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods into your diet. These plant-based options not only help you feel full and satisfied but also provide essential vitamins and minerals to support your overall health. Visit local farmers’ markets or grow your own produce to enjoy the freshest seasonal options available.

3. Grill plant-based

Take advantage of the outdoor cooking season by opting for grilled vegetables, plant-based proteins like tofu or tempeh and meat alternatives. Grilling requires less added fats and oils, making it a healthier cooking method. Experiment with marinades and herb rubs to add flavor without excess calories. Don’t forget to include plenty of colorful vegetables on the grill for a well-rounded, nutritious meal.

4. Watch liquid calories

Avoid sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages, which can add significant hidden calories to your diet. These empty calories can quickly derail your health goals without providing much nutritional value. Instead, choose refreshing alternatives like water infused with fresh fruit, unsweetened iced tea or sparkling water with a splash of juice for flavor.

5. Stay active

Make the most of longer days and warmer weather by engaging in outdoor activities. Swimming, hiking, cycling or even a brisk evening walk can boost your metabolism and contribute to overall fitness. Find activities you enjoy and make them a regular part of your routine. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to physical activity and its benefits for weight management.

6. Practice portion control

Summer gatherings often mean an abundance of food, making it easy to overindulge. Use smaller plates to help control portion sizes, and be mindful of your hunger cues. Take time to savor your food and engage in conversation during meals, which can help prevent overeating. Remember, it’s okay to enjoy treats in moderation — the key is balance.

7. Get adequate sleep

Longer days and busy social calendars can disrupt our sleep patterns during the summer months. However, ensuring you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night is a great way to help maintain a healthy weight. This is because a lack of sleep can affect hunger hormones and lead to increased cravings and potential weight gain. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine to improve your sleep quality.

8. Plan ahead

If you’re traveling or attending events, plan your meals and snacks in advance to avoid impulsive eating. Pack healthy, plant-based snacks for road trips, research restaurant menus before dining out and consider bringing a nutritious vegetarian or vegan dish to share at potlucks. By being prepared, you can make healthier choices even when faced with tempting options.

9. Snack smart

Keep healthy, plant-based snacks readily available to curb hunger between meals. Cut vegetables, fresh fruits or a small handful of nuts can provide satisfying nutrients without excess calories. Having these options on hand can help you avoid reaching for less nutritious alternatives when hunger strikes.

10. Stay cool

Extreme heat can lead to fatigue and reduced activity, which can impact your weight management efforts. Plan your outdoor activities for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. On particularly hot days, consider indoor workouts or water-based activities to stay active while beating the heat.

Remember, maintaining a healthy weight isn’t just about fitting into your summer wardrobe — it’s about feeling energized and enjoying all that the season has to offer. By incorporating these tips into your daily life, you can create a balanced approach to health that allows you to savor the joys of summer while keeping your wellness goals on track.