Daylight Savings Time is around the corner which means more time for family, outdoor activities, barbecue, and other fun ways to make the most of your after-work hours. An extra hour of daylight after work and school is the perfect opportunity for creating healthy and fun new habits that will be of lasting benefit.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas for making the most of that extra hour of daylight:
- Play in the dirt – Gardening is a great way to get some dynamic movement in your life, and exposing your skin to soil and all the organisms in it has actually been shown to boost the immune system. For the more adventurous types, try occasionally going barefoot to work muscles in your feet in new and dynamic ways. For kids, encourage them to explore the world through dirt. They can make mud pies, dig holes, play in the sand box - there are infinite possibilities for creative play in a simple pile of dirt. And when you’re done, make sure you have some good laundry detergent from your local Brookshire Brothers or David's so the clean-up is a breeze.
- Cook outdoors – Take your cooking outdoors for a relaxed evening of family fun. Brookshire Brothers' produce and market departments have awesome products for mixing up a family barbecue menu. Try grilling long slices of summer squash, eggplant, skewered tomatoes, onions, and corn. You can even throw your fruit on the grill with some delicious slices of fresh pineapple grilled until they are golden brown - a perfect accompaniment to any barbecue feast. Try making foil packets for the grill where everyone in the family creates their own special mix with ingredients sausage, chicken, fish, and yummy veggies like carrots, potatoes, and onions.
- Eat outdoors – Visit a local park and have a picnic, spread a blanket in the back yard, or find somewhere to take a walk and pack your dinner to combine quality movement and dinner time.
- Play outside – Playing outdoors isn’t just for kids. We should all be sitting less and out there moving more. If you bring kids to the park, play with them instead of sitting on a park bench. Spend some time stretching and walking to improve your circulation. Go barefoot. Check out ways to lead a healthy life here.
- Eat meals together – Take the time cook and eat meals together with friends and family. Make an effort more often to make meals a time of community rather than just another part of the day.
- Try something new – Head to your local Brookshire Brothers as a family and have everyone choose something they’ve never tried before. A great place to start is the produce department. Help kids research what to do with their new discovery and prepare it as part of a tasty meal or snack.
- Take more walks – Walking is like eating. Everyone should walk as a foundation of a healthy “movement” diet. Try to mix up your walks by taking short walks, longer walks, and walks in different places and terrains. If you walk with young children, get them out of the stroller and encourage them to walk a little further each day. Walk on the sidewalk, walk on a trail, walk in the woods, walk across logs, just walk. Just like what you eat, strive for a variety.
So make the most of this Daylight Savings Time with a fun new habit that will carry you into those longer summer days as a healthier and happier you.
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious healthy foods and providing nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does community education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. Look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas.