The Fourth of July is a holiday when friends and family gather to celebrate the independence of this great nation and indulge in sunshine, savory eats, refreshing cocktails, Cool-Whip topped desserts and, of course, a finale of fireworks. Such a combination of fun should come with a few rules to live by. Consider these tips before you pack the picnic basket and head into the summer heat:
- Slather on the sunscreen. An ideal Fourth of July holiday often includes the blazing sun, hopefully set against the background of shimmering pool, cool lake, rushing river or blue ocean. Even if a body of water isn’t part of your perfect Fourth, time spent outdoors in the sun still calls for sunscreen. Make sure you slather on an SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum sunscreen. If you are in the water or sweating, be sure to reapply often.
- Contribute healthy sides. If you are not hosting the event, you have little control over the food that will be served. The staples eats usually include grilled favorites, like hamburgers, hot dogs and BBQ along with classic sides and desserts. If you are heading to a pot luck, bring healthy side dishes like a salad or veggie tray. Fiber-rich foods can help fill your stomach, so you won’t be tempted to over-indulge in hot dogs and potato salad.
- Monitor the munchies. Chips, dips and finger foods galore line most Fourth of July buffets. Too many times passed the food table and you may consume more calories than if you just sat down and ate a whole meal. Start the day with a healthy breakfast to keep satiety high and the urge snack low. Choose routes around the party that don’t take you past the food table. Indulge in plenty of conversation – if you’re busy talking, you won’t have the ability to munch mindlessly.
- Liquid calories count too. Sodas, lemonade, beer, wine spritzers, sangria and simple mixed cocktails – all can rack up some serious calories – drink after drink. Keep an eye on your consumption: 1 light beer is 100 calories, a glass of wine is 125 per 5 ounces and 12-ounce sodas are a whopping 140 calories.
- Stay hydrated. Alongside slathering on the sunscreen, you will need to drink plenty of water to beat the July heat. If you are indulging in soft drinks or alcohol, be sure to have a little extra water to offset the dehydrating effects of those beverages.
- Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Keep an eye out for errant fireworks and firework use. Choose a safe distance from the launch point of fireworks to avoid being hit by falling debris.
Enjoy a happy, healthy and exciting Fourth of July celebration with friends and family!