10 Tips for a Healthy 4th of July

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  1. Grill with Care: Remember that you can’t tell just by looking when meat is done. Invest in a quality food thermometer and make sure you follow the temperature guides provided by foodsafety.gov.
  1. Stay Hydrated: With Southern California temperatures soaring and the current water shortage on our minds, it is easy to neglect our own hydration needs. Drink plenty of water, keep water-packed vegetables and fruits on hand for snacking, and try to minimize sun exposure and excessive sweating. Fruits high in water content are watermelon and grapefruit, and vegetables high in water include lettuce and zucchini.

  1. Make It Active and Smart: Make sure to get plenty of exercise, but try to minimize time spent in the heat during the middle of the day. Limit your intense cardiovascular exercise to the mornings or evenings.
  1. Cut Some Carbs: If you are diabetic or watching carbohydrates, try going protein-style with your burger and substitute the bun with fresh, crisp lettuce. Instead of dipping chips into hummus, dip some carrot sticks and celery instead.
  1. Get More Fiber with Whole Grains: Instead of buns made from refined grains, up your fiber intake with whole grain buns, whole-wheat tortillas, and brown rice.
  1. Watch Your Sugar: With plenty of sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages, and desserts aplenty at your typical backyard barbecue, it is easy to overload on sugar. Opt for sugar-free options, fresh fruits instead of cakes and pies, and try to minimize alcoholic beverages. Try mineral water with lemon or lime, or low caloric alcohol beverages like skinny margaritas and light beer.
  1. Back Off the Fats: Choosing leaner proteins like veggie burgers, chicken, and fish over red meat will help to keep from overdoing it on fats. Watch out with your sides as well, and keep the mayonnaise, butter, and high fat salad dressings to a minimum, and choose heart healthier options like olive oil and healthy fats like avocado instead.
  1. Buy Smaller Plates: Studies have shown that people will eat the total amount of food before them whether the plate 9” or 13”. Serving on 9” plates and keeping the buffet far from the table seating gives people a bit of extra time to decide if another trip to the table is really in order, or if enough is enough.
  1. Be Mindful: Eating slower and with a focus on the flavor, tastes, and the joy of the food will ensure you do not overeat. Taking time to chew and taking a moment after each bite will ensure that you are listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
  1. Schedule an Activity Before Dessert: Whether it’s a game of volleyball, cricket, badminton, crochet, or any other fun group activity, having a fun and interactive game between the meal and dessert will help keep the pounds off by providing a bit of healthy activity, and perhaps keep you and your guests from overeating.
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