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Have a Heart Healthy Holiday for the 4th!

by Allyson P. on Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and it is a great time to be with family and friends and celebrate the birthday of our Nation! July 4th is also the unofficial start of the summer and that means days at the pool, BBQ, sports and other outdoor activities. I thought it was a great time to share some great summer tips to keep your whole family happy and healthy this summer!

When you or your family is physically active this summer, keep these things in mind:

  • Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration. For low-calorie flavor, add slices of your favorite fruits such as melon, oranges, berries or even cucumber or mint to a pitcher
  • Protect your family from the sun: wear wide-brimmed hats, always apply water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
  • Heat safety: avoid intense activities between noon and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
  • Dress for the heat: wear lightweight, light colored clothing, choose light, breathable fabrics such as cotton, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Head indoors: when the heat gets unbearable, try indoor activities at your local YMCA or rec center like basketball, swimming, yoga or racquetball.

 Are you having a BBQ this weekend, here are some ideas for a healthier grilling cookout:

  • Go fish! Fish, especially oily fish like tuna and salmon have great nutritional benefits including omega-3 fatty acids. Rub a fillet with lemon juice and parsley or rosemary for enhanced flavor.
  • Make a better burger: if you’re grilling burgers, be sure to buy lean or extra lean beef, drain off the excess fat after cooking and avoid making huge patties – remember that a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards (3 oz). Add finely chopped green pepper to your beef to get in some veggies.
  • Baked fries: Slice white or sweet potatoes into sticks, lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray, pepper and paprika and bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Veggie kabobs: load up skewers with mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash or other veggies. Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and grill until slightly blackened.
  • Try grilled corn on the cob: leave the husks on, and grill for about 30 minutes over medium flame, rotating occasionally. Remove from grill, let cool for about 5 minutes, remove husks and enjoy!

Looking for some fun and refreshing summer snacks that the entire family can enjoy:

  • Fruit pops: Homemade freezer pops are an easy, fun treat for kids to make. Mash up fruit like peaches, grapes, berries or watermelon and put them in paper cups, insert a popsicle stick, freeze overnight and enjoy!
  • Cool and crisp: keep a variety of colorful veggies on hand that stay cool and crunchy for   a refreshing treat – baby carrots, cucumber slices, and celery sticks are just a few ideas.
  • Fruit smoothies: blend your favorite fresh fruits with fat-free or low-fat yogurt and ice for a refreshing drink or freeze and eat with a spoon like a frozen ice chill.
  • Mix it up: make your own trail mix using your favorite unsalted, oil free nuts, seeds and dried fruits (just be sure to keep your servings to 1.5 ounces or 1/3 cup).
  • Just slice and serve: summer months are peek season for most fruits, just slice and serve – the whole family will enjoy the refreshing natural sweetness and juices just the way nature made ‘em!

 I hope you have a wonderful July 4th!

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