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  1. Top 10 Tips for a Healthy July 4th


    4th of July party picA fourth of July party is the very essence of summer. To many of us it's not just about celebrating our great nation and proudly displaying your red, white and blue but it's also about spending time with family and friends, being outdoors and of course seeing the fireworks! Who doesn't enjoy a great fireworks display?

    Check out these tips to ensure you have a safe, fun, active and healthy Fourth of July:

    #1 Go Light.

    No one wants to eat a heavy filling meal when you're outside in the heat. So make salads and sides the main course. Grill your meal. You can throw your meat, veggies and even dessert on the grill and enjoy being outside with your guests. Check out the Diet-to-Go Fourth of July Menu blog for some great grilling ideas.

    #2 Start an Active Tradition.

    Be it an annual family kickball tournament, neighborhood volleyball game or a pre-dinner hike, an annual activity will be a welcome event to any July 4th celebration. Not only will it get everyone's blood pumping (and put them in a good mood) but it will also give you stories to share for years to come, "...remember when Bob tore his shorts sliding into first base..."

    #3 Stay hydrated.

    No matter what part of the country you live in, July is hot! Be sure to drink plenty of water and keep your body from overheating. Keep plenty of fresh fruit on hand too as fruit is packed with vitamins, fiber and water, and with so many in season during the summer there is plenty to choose from.

    #4 Stay Covered.

    With sunscreen that is; sunscreen is essential for any healthy outdoor activity. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. The hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure. So stay covered and throw on a hat and sunglasses for good measure: not only will you protect yourself from UV damage, you'll look stylish doing it.

    #5 Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

    While fireworks are fun and beautiful, it's important to understand how dangerous they can be. Most towns organize a big display -- run by professionals -- go to those. No reason to ruin your day by a trip to the ER with a firework injury.

    #6 Keep cold food cold and hot food hot.

    Be sure you cook all of your food to the recommended temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria and keep things that should be refrigerated in a cooler over ice. And if you can leave those "must be refrigerated at all times" items off the menu (think items containing mayonnaise).

    #7 Make sure your grill is clean.

    A dirty grill can be a cesspool of germs and bacteria. After you are done grilling, do a quick clean up of any visible debris and food, then turn up the heat and let the grill burn off a bit. After the grill is good and cool grab your grill brush for a quick scrub. Once a year, do a deep clean to ensure your grill has a nice long (healthy and safe) grilling life.

    #8 Bring out the lawn games.

    Encourage your party guests to bring their favorite lawn game instead of yet another dessert. Then you can take turns trying out all the different games. Some favorites you might want to have on hand include croquet, bocce ball and Frisbee.

    #9 Choose healthy drink options.

    Don't waste all your calories on sugar-laden sweet tea, sodas, or beer. Choose healthier drink options. You can serve peach tea sweetened with agave honey and mint, cucumber sparkling water, or try a Thai Spring Mojito for a low-cal alcohol drink that is refreshing and only packs about 90 calories a serving.

    Ingredients

    • 1 ounce of white rum (or vodka, if you prefer)
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon water
    • 1 pinch fresh ginger
    • peeled and grated
    • 3 medium Thai basil leaves
    • 3 mint leaves
    • juice of half a lime
    • club soda

    In the bottom of a Collins or mixing glass, muddle the sugar, water, herbs and lime juice. Pour in rum and stir. Top with crushed ice and club soda. Garnish with a lime wheel. Recipe from Drink of the Week.

    #10 Ditch the Sugary Dessert.

    Right now tons of fresh fruit is available from the grocery, farmers markets, fruit stands, or (maybe?) our own back yard! Cut up strawberries and melon or grill peaches, pineapple or bananas to satisfy your sweet tooth without expanding your waistline.

    If you follow these tips you'll not only be celebrating the independence of our country but also the freedom from an unhealthy lifestyle! Happy 4th!

    Author: Lillie Lancaster

    Surviving the Holidays
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