Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and many of us will be enjoying our favorite foods of the summer by the water or in our backyard with friends and family. It's a day to cut loose and celebrate the red, white and blue, but there's no reason it has to derail your diet or healthy lifestyle.
Here are some ways to keep the fun going with a healthy twist while celebrating our nation's birthday:
1. Stay hydrated.
Being outside in the hot sun all day -- and consuming some "patriotic" beverages -- can easily lead to dehydration. Keep plenty of water handy throughout the day and try sipping some coconut water at the end of the day to help replenish electrolytes. Some also hail coconut water as a great way to prevent/treat a hangover.
2. Apply sunscreen.
Another fact about spending all day in the sun is that you're bound to get sunburned unless you take the proper precautions. Remember to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen at least every two hours (according to the individual products's directions), using a shot glass to measure out the proper amount. If you're spending time in the water, apply it even more often.
3. Eat your fruits veggies.
While hot dogs and hamburgers or steaks may be the main focus of your cookout, grilled vegetables make a wonderful addition. Asparagus, corn and peppers make tasty side dishes to your feast. Try some cold, fresh fruit for dessert like watermelon or berries instead of the ice cream.
4. Spice it up.
Flavor doesn't have to come from thick sauces full of sugar. Reach for new and exciting spices to flavor your proteins and vegetables, either as a rub before cooking or as a finishing touch, like turmeric, ginger and cayenne pepper, which have anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting properties. Use fresh peppers and chilies to make salsa that can top fish or chicken and blend fresh herbs like cilantro with vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to make a chimichurri sauce that tastes wonderful on a steak.
5. Grill, grill, grill.
This one is a no brainer. Now that you've picked your proteins and vegetables and know how you want to flavor them, throw them on the grill! Grilling can be a wonderful, healthy way to prepare your favorite foods, keeping them most and bringing out delicious flavors. Go light on the oil by using a spray can before heading out to the grill instead of dipping or dredging foods for less fat and calories. You can even grill fruits like pineapple for an easy dessert.
6. Be active.
Exercise and breaking a sweat should be a daily goal, so take advantage of the time off as a opportunity to get outside and be active with friends and family. Take a hike or bike ride, go swimming or kayaking or even bring your normal fitness routine outdoors. Knowing you're supposed to be working may help make it a little easier.
7. Up your DIY.
While you don't want to spend the entire holiday in the kitchen, the more foods and beverages you prepare yourself the more you can control the meal. Here are a few recipes to try:
Instead of pop (soda for those of you not in the Midwest, like us) . . .
The Better-for-You Cherry Limeaide
8 fl oz sparkling water
2 tbsp tart cherry juice concentrate
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Liquid stevia to taste
Instead of store-bought salsa . . .
Burn Off the Calories Salsa
1 can black beans in water, rinsed and drained
1 can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
1 shallot or small red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (remove seeds for a more mild heat)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Instead of store-bought popsicles . . .
Cranraspberry Fruit Freezer Treats
16 oz pure cranberry juice
1 container of fresh raspberries
1 tbsp fresh mints leaves, chopped
Liquid stevia to taste
Puree raspberries with cranberry juice in a blender or food processor. Stir in mint leaves and liquid stevia if too tart. Pour into ice cube tray and cover with tin foil. Pierce one popsicle stick through tin foil into center of each cube and freeze overnight.
Unless your job actually requires it (looking at you, on-call professionals) or you're guiding your guests to your house, keep your phone out of your hand for the day. Feeling the pressure to check your phone every hour or more adds unnecessary stress to the day and doesn't let you truly unwind. Everything you left behind at work will still be there when you get back, we all know that.
9. Spend time with friends and family.
Happiness is key to health. Be sure to include those dearest to you in your celebrating if you can to unwind and create new memories together. Laughter and love are the best medicine.
10. Get some sleep.
Especially if you have to be back to work on Friday, make sure you get your rest to prevent yourself from being a zombie at work. Sleep reduces stress, allows the muscles to heal after a day of activity, supports healthy digestion and can keep you on track with your weight loss goals.
It's OK to indulge within reason on holidays like the Fourth of July, but your health is always something to celebrate, so keep that in mind. Get everything you need at eVitamins for a healthy summer and have a safe and happy holiday! USA! USA!
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