The Fourth of July is a day for Americans to celebrate their independence by doing three things: drinking, eating, and blowing stuff up. Would it be America’s birthday if those three things didn’t happen? Some argue that this holiday is more about food than fireworks. Just because it is a holiday weekend that involves gatherings with friends and family, it doesn’t mean that you should completely let yourself go.
It’s easy to let food and drink get the better of you during holiday festivities. Even if you happen to be on a diet already, hotdogs, ribs, burgers, beers, and the array of chips and dips can make you weak in the knees. Temptation exists on every picnic table, grill, and in every fridge. You don’t have to lock yourself away from the good times, though, because there are ways to make your Fourth of July weekend a little healthier. You don’t have to take wheatgrass shots and eat smoothie bowls (nothing wrong with that plan, though) this weekend, but you don’t have to ignore your health either. Stay healthy this Independence Day with the following tips.
Swap The Soda For Seltzer
This is an easy way to limit your sugar intake during the holiday weekend. A common 12-ounce can of soda can contain between 35-42 grams of sugar. Depending on the beverage, the sugar content can be higher or lower. Since it’s common for the average person to crack open more than one can of soda during Independence Day festivities, it’s a healthier option to switch to seltzer water. There are so many seltzer waters in existence, some of which have crispy carbonation and subtle flavors with no added sugars. Enhance your bubbly water game by adding lemon or lime slices, muddled blueberries, or fresh mint to the glass.
Keep It Light
Most food that people make for Independence Day festivities is very hard on the body. It can lead to sluggish digestion, dehydration, and fatigue, especially if you spend the day in the sun. Instead of feeling like you can’t even get up from a chair, opt for lighter food options that balance the main course. Make a collection of salads, a veggie tray, a fruit medley, or homemade hummus and salsa recipes. Just don’t eat an entire bag of chips!
Keep The Grains Whole
It’s hard to convince people to let go of the familiar and make healthier choices on a classically unhealthy holiday. Rather than white bread or buns that contain enriched flour and refined sugars, choose whole wheat or sprouted grain varieties. If you make pasta dishes like pasta salad, consider using one of the many gluten-free pasta options that exist. There are lentil-based, quinoa-based, brown rice-based, and spinach based pastas! You can also add cold barley or quinoa to salads in order to increase your fiber and protein intake.
Protect Your Skin
While the focus of this article is predominantly on diet tips, the skin deserves equal attention and care. Don’t neglect your skin while grilling, swimming, or lounging out in the sun this weekend. In order to keep your skin sunburn-free, apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Ideally, the sunscreen should be water resistant and environmentally friendly. Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before sun exposure to reduce the risk of UVA and UVB damage. If you take a dip in the ocean, pool, or lake, or you simply sweat a lot, reapply every two hours or so for optimal protection.
You Can Grill Veggies Too
Do you want to know the craziest thing? You can grill more than meat! The flames that provide lovely char to your meats have the same effect on veggies. If you have a grill basket, load it up with a vegetable medley of zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Alternatively, grill some asparagus with olive oil and lemon juice. Portobello mushrooms also hold up incredibly well on the grill, and marinating them only enhances the flavor. Don’t forget that veggie kabobs are great options too!