Summertime is perfect time to adopt healthy habits

    Kick Starter and Chocolate Peanut Butter, Banana & Strawberry Smoothies can help you begin to establish summertime healthy habits that will continue all year long.

    With Memorial Day around the corner, even adults can begin to have a “school’s out” attitude and let healthy habits fall by the wayside. As temperatures rise, children enjoy their freedom and plans are being made for vacations, Diabetes Educator Whitney Cessna, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.N,, reminds both grown-ups and kids alike that staying in shape is a priority all year long.

    “Summer can be the perfect time to improve your health without even noticing you are doing so,” said Cessna, who practices with University of Louisville Physicians-Pediatric Endocrinology and at the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center, managed jointly by UofL and Norton Children’s Hospital. “Making several small changes in your routine can reap big health benefits.”

    Cessna has put together a few of her personal tips to make the most out of your summer, all while being healthy at the same time:

    1. Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. This is important to stay hydrated whether at the pool, on the golf course or sitting outside soaking up that sunshine. Hydration is also key for any physical activity, and especially when drinking alcohol.
    2. Make half your plate vegetables. They are lower in carbs, higher in fiber and contain essential vitamins and nutrients that help reduce certain chronic risk factors and diseases. Veggies such as cucumbers, asparagus, avocados, zucchini and leafy greens are high in fiber and over time will help decrease bloating.
    3. If you can find more time to exercise, do it. Exercising in the extreme heat should be kept to a minimum, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your workouts to the gym or do some circuits in the luxury of your home in the air conditioning.
    4. Go light on the alcohol. Summer is the best time to skip those hard liquor drinks you’ve been consuming all winter. Choose lighter options lower in calories and carbohydrates. If you are going to be outside for several hours, cut back on alcohol. When you drink it in the sun, it dehydrates you further, causing you to urinate and sweat more. Although you may crave more of that crisp, cold beverage, alcohol fails to replenish those water stores, potentially causing dehydration.
    5. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep plays an important role in physical health and mental health. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep deficiency may lead to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
    6. Give your diet a boost of berry. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are some of Cessna’s year-round favorites, but more so in the summer when they are available fresh at stores and farmers markets. Berries are full of antioxidants, which help prevent tissue damage and reduce risk of age-related illnesses. Berries are perfect for a breakfast fruit bowl, as a snack by the pool or blended into a delicious and nutritious smoothie such as these:

    Kick Starter Smoothie


    • ½ cup blueberries
    • ½ frozen banana
    • 1 peeled carrot
    • 1 tbsp. flax seed
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1 cup ice
    • 2 tbsp. oats
    • ½ packet of Breakfast Essentials powder (any flavor, but chocolate would go perfect!)


    1. Peel a carrot and place in blender with ice. Pulse a few times to get carrots semi blended.
    2. Add in other ingredients until smooth and enjoy.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter, Banana & Strawberry Smoothie


    • 1 cup almond milk
    • ½ avocado
    • ½ frozen banana
    • 2 strawberries
    • 1 scoop of Protein Superfood Chocolate Peanut Butter powder, whey protein or a plant-based protein if not able to tolerate whey, or Breakfast Essentials powder
    • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 cup ice
    • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder or ½ packet of Breakfast Essentials powder
    • 3 tbsp. peanut butter or PB2 powder, a good alternative to peanut butter


    Blend all ingredients in blender until a creamy, smooth consistency is reached.


    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.