As summer heads our way this Memorial Day weekend, we look at ways to stay health conscious while enjoying the great outdoors. If camping is on your agenda, a little planning ahead can make your campfire cuisine healthy as well as delicious. Or if you’re still in the office why not duck outside for a little midday sunshine while enjoying a nutritious pre-packed lunch? And if you overdo it playing on the trails, parks or beach, a relaxing hot tub or bath could be just the ticket to a quicker recovery as well as many other health benefits.

Cooking healthy by campfire? You bet!

While campfires often conjure images of roasting packaged hot dogs and sugary marshmallows, cooking by campfire has the potential to healthfully fuel your next trip. Inexpensive equipment such as grill grates—which go over the fire and allow you to cook with pans—and dutch ovens can help you make fiber and nutrient-rich sautés and stews. Or skip the heavy gear and roast potatoes and lake trout in lightweight aluminum foil packets. Just be sure to keep perishables safely packed away in a cooler to prevent bacterial overgrowth.

A better way to do lunch

May 25 is National Brown-Bag-It Day, and research continues to show lunches made at home—the kind traditionally brought to work or school in brown bags or other handy containers—are healthier. If you need some extra motivation to get prepping, keep in mind going out to lunch can lead to overeating, a sleepy afternoon slump, and a daily hit to your wallet. To keep homemade lunches interesting, try thinking beyond the same old sandwich by mixing in soups, salads, and whole grain vegetable bowls. Streamline the process by cooking in bulk and freezing in individual portions, making brown bag lunches easy to take to work.

Is hot tubbing a hot ticket to better health?

Isn’t it great when something that feels really good also happens to be good for you? Though it’s well documented that using hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas can reduce stress and promote relaxation, there are other medical benefits heat therapy can provide as well. A sauna or hot tub session increases blood flow and vascular dilation—similar to what happens during a mild aerobic exercise session—which means a good soak might be as good for your heart and vascular system as a workout. Heat therapy can also help you recover from a workout and endurance athletes who make time to hit the spa or sauna seem to fare better than those who ice their muscles following a difficult event. There may even be metabolic benefits to soaking in a tub. Research has shown hot tubs might contribute to a reduction in inflammation secreted by fat cells and pain control in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. So soak away after a great workout—you’ve earned it!


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