One of the best parts of summer is having the extra time to socialize with people and enjoy some fun in the sun. Those cookouts, pool parties, and beach excursions don’t always lend themselves to the healthiest choices, neither for you nor the environment. Here are a few tips to keep your summer shindigs fun AND healthy!
1. Change up grilling options.
As a guest: Plan ahead and select your favorite grill-able wisely. Think outside of the normal hamburger/hot dog options and go for chicken, fish, or veggies! If a burger is your thing, look for lean and local meat options.
As a host: Encourage your guests to bring healthy grill choices ahead of time. If you are supplying the treats for the grill, try to offer various healthy options for your guests.
As a guest: Not to be a broken record, but hydration is important for overall health and well-being. Drink lots of water, especially if you are out in the sun all day. If you choose to drink alcohol, make sure you moderate your consumption, as alcohol and sunshine combine for further dehydration.
As a host: Make sure to provide water, especially when you host at a location without fountains/running water. Having a cooler of water with cucumbers or other fruit in it can be a refreshing option. Also, spice up the party with festive drink options like this cherry mint spritzer!
3. Eat what you want, not what’s in front of you.
As a guest: There are all sorts of snack food options that tend to present themselves at cookouts. Limit your snacking, and if you do nibble away, increase the amount of fruits and veggies you eat. Also, avoid mindless snacking- just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it!
As a host: Encourage ahead of time that you’d love for people to bring fruits and vegetables as snacks to contribute to the party.
As a guest: Even if it’s hot out, get moving! Be the person at the party who whips out a Frisbee or starts a relay race.
As a host: Plan games ahead of time- even games like cornhole can get people up and moving rather than sitting around. If you are in a backyard, go old school and get out the sprinkler! And for beach/pool parties, have beach balls, Frisbees, and other games on hand to liven up any shindig.
5. Go green!
As a guest: Always ask the host how they prefer your dispose of leftover food, utensils, etc. If using disposable glasses, write your name on yours to avoid using multiple cups.
As a host: Provide environmentally friendly picnic products for your guests. Encourage guests to recycle/compost as appropriate. Put up proper signage above receptacles to make it clear where certain items go. Set out a basket/ bin for used utensils, then wash and save them for the next party!
6. Sunscreen/bug spray.
As a guest: Apply sunscreen liberally and often, especially when you are near water. Bring your own sunscreen and bug spray in case there isn’t any available at the party. For more info on choosing a bug spray click here.
As a host: If possible, provide umbrellas or choose a shady area for guests to relax in. Lighting insect-repelling candles or a similar product can help keep areas relatively bug free. Provide sunscreen and mosquito repellant for your guests to use.
7. Wash your hands.
As a guest: Yes, this might seem obvious, but when you are at a BBQ or the beach, hand washing may slip your mind. Use hand sanitizer or wipes in a pinch, or make that extra trek to the washroom before you dig in to your food!
As a host: Consider putting bottles of hand sanitizer out on tables before the party starts to encourage guests to keep their hands squeaky clean!
Originally posted by Brittany O’Malley, former Assistant Director of Student Wellness in Summer 2014. Edited for clarity.