With school out, even adults tend to adopt a more laid back attitude in the warmer, longer, lazier days of summer. And while summer brings lots of healthy opportunities like farm fresh produce, more time outdoors and relaxing vacations – there are also summer health risks. Here are 10 ways to have a healthy, active and safe summer!
Eat fresh, grow fresh and live fresh
Summer brings a bounty of fresh, local produce perfect for a family BBQ, celebration or just an everyday weekday dinner. Try lightening up your dishes and teach kids about balancing summer treats with healthy eats.
- Try plant-based eating. Vegetarian and vegan diets are more than just trendy. Done right, they can be nutritious and healthy. Summer’s produce makes it easy. Find out how to go vibrantly vegan to use plant power to feed your vegan child.
- Garden with your kids. Try growing your own veggies this summer so your kids learn that potatoes don’t come in a box. Read how to start your own indoor or outdoor garden in advance. Plus, check out these 5 ways to teach your kids food literacy this summer.
- Shape up your summer barbeques, picnics and treats. For many families, summer fun includes popsicles, freezies, slushies, and ice cream. But all that sugar can harm your child’s health. Here are our tips for making healthier dishes for your next family barbeque or picnic and cutting the sugar from summer treats but keeping the flavour and fun.
- Find healthier ways to quench your thirst – ditch the sugary drinks this summer. Everyone loves a cold frosty drink on a hot day. But many of your favourite summer sips are high in sugar. Kids especially need healthy hydration options for the heat. Here are some other ideas for refreshing, lower-sugar alternatives, perfect for patio weather.
- Find your local farmers’ market or take advantage of seasonal produce at your produce store or supermarket.
Get outside and play
Warm summer weather is a perfect time to get outside and be more active.
- Hike. Try one of our many local trails – Vancouver Trails provides info on difficulty, distance and time to hike for trails across the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Whistler /Pemberton region.
- Walk. Not quite ready for hiking? Walking doesn’t require special gear and can be done by anyone. Learn the benefits of walking and easy tips to get you started. And check out the suggested trails in our walking guide by ages.
- Get the kids away from the screen. If your kids are saying “I’m bored”, take a look at these great ideas to get your kids active in our article “Unplugged”.
- Family-fun. 10 tips from Fraser Health region families about how they stay active, eat well and make memories with their children all summer long. Check out our article "Super Duper Summer".
- Family Travel. We’ve got you covered with tips for traveling with baby and some great meal and snack ideas for road trips with your baby / toddler.
- Pregnant? Here are some safe tips for traveling while pregnant from Healthy Family BC.
- Healthy Travel. Planning a trip this summer? Know before you go and have a safer, healthier holiday. Check out these Travel Health tips from HealthLink BC.
- Road Safety. With school out, more kids are spending time outdoors at local parks and playgrounds. Be road safe, slow down and watch out for kids. ICBC has some great tips to keep our kids safe this summer.
Go light on alcohol
With all the summer BBQs, festivals and parties that come with the warmer weather, you may find yourself drinking more, or in new environments that can increase the risks associated with alcohol. If you choose to drink this summer – know the risks and read about 9 ways alcohol can affect your health.
Stay safe at summer festivals
Summer music fests offer up a lot of fun in a big outdoor package, but if you’re not careful, they can also offer up health risks - heat stroke, overdose, dehydration and more. Some care and preparation can go a long way towards you getting the most out of your experience. Here are 7 tips from our Tough Rocker Guide.
Avoid food-borne illnesses
- Cook safe. Summer BBQs and picnics are a great way for families and friends to get together and enjoy the warm weather, but don’t let uninvited guests E.coli or Salmonella ruin your summer fun. Read our tips to avoid food-borne illness.
- Eat safe. If you plan on enjoying some of the many summer festivals and events this year here are five things you need to look for when buying food at a public event.
Protect yourself from insect stings and bites
Along with warmer temperatures - summer is also the season of bug bites and bee stings. Protect yourself and your family and know how to avoid bites and stings.
- Mosquitos. Even though West Nile Virus has not yet appeared in B.C., it’s still a good idea to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Reduce your risk and remember the four D’s – DRAIN your property of standing water; take extra care at DAWN and DUSK, DRESS appropriately and DEFEND against bites by using insect repellents wisely. Read more tips on protecting your family from mosquito bites.
- Ticks. Summer hikes and camping trips may mean you’re at greater risk for tick bites. Ticks are tiny bugs which feed on blood and are most often found living in tall grass and wooded areas. Read the Healthlink BC Tick Bites guide for info on how to avoid tick bites and safely remove ticks if you are bitten.
- Bee, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets. Here are some tips from HealthLink BC on preventing stings this summer.
Beat the heat
The Lower Mainland may not be the sunniest place on earth, but the sun’s rays can still cause harm. Sunlight is good for us in small doses; it helps the body make vitamin D3, is a good mood booster, and can also be used to treat certain skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. But overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight can also cause serious harm. Check our out sun safety tips for some safe and healthy fun in the sun.
Now that the weather’s warming up and we’re all spending more time outdoors enjoying the sun, we need to ensure our skin is protected, and that starts with sunscreen. But not all sunscreens are created equal and it’s easy to get confused. Learn the secret to safe sun: surprising sunscreen facts to keep you and your family sun safe.
Be water safe
We are lucky to live in a part of the world that has lots of great places to swim, boat and enjoy water sports. Whether you’re at the ocean, lake or river, stay safe on the water this summer with these water safety tips.
Prevent window falls
Window screens keep bugs out, not children in. Tips to prevent falls from windows and balconies.