Let’s think of the Fourth of July celebrations with four F’s: family, friends, food, and fireworks. You also have the sunshine and that vibrant summer vibe to match the festivities.
If you’re on a strict diet and you don’t feel like making an exception for the great barbecue in the backyard, we’re here to give you some tips on how to stay fit during the celebrations, as well as other safety and health precautions you and your loved ones should look out for.
Here’s how to make sure you get to indulge in some burgers, beers, and those Fourth of July-themed cupcakes without compromising your diet plan (and that flat tummy you worked for!)
Make sure you alternate each alcoholic drink with water
Let’s not deny you’re going to have about two or three cocktails, so just make sure that while you’re drinking, you have plenty of food in your stomach and keep yourself hydrated with water or even soda.
Food safety during the barbecue
When you’re grilling outdoors, there are a lot more food safety factors to consider than if you’re simply cooking steak in your kitchen. Always start the barbecue with a thoroughly cleaned grill, clean your hands before and after handling the grill, and always keep your food covered.
Before grilling any of your frozen foods, make sure they have been properly thawed, and keep perishable foods like salads and coleslaw in your fridge until you actually need them. Don’t put cooked food on a plate that was previously used for raw meat.
Remember that if you plan to use your marinade as a sauce, cook it first before drenching your meat with it! Bring the sauce to a boil to make sure you kill off any bacteria from the raw meat that got transferred to your marinade.
Healthier food alternatives
If you already have an existing health condition, then be mindful of foods that spike up your insulin, such as too much ice cream, potato chips, and beer. Not only will this give you complications if you’re a diabetic, but it’s also going to result in your body storing all these as fat. Swap white bread (like burger and hot dog buns) for whole wheat buns or sourdough buns.
If you’re trying not to go over your calorie restriction, choose lean meats since they have lower fat content. It’s alright to be picky – make sure you get the leanest cuts of chicken, beef, or pork.
You’re probably also going to practice portion control, so remember to automatically fill half of your plate with options from the grilled vegetable choices. They’re rich in fiber so they’ll keep you full and you can avoid reaching for the foods with higher calories.
If you’re going to the beach
Make sure you apply sunscreen! Build up your skin’s protection by applying sunscreen a few days before your barbecue. Additionally, make sure you swim into clear waters that don’t look murky! If you’re going to the beach or the ocean, smell the breeze before diving in.
If you’re making a trip to the lake, check first if there are any blue-green algae and that the lake’s surface isn’t covered in a slimy green coating. If you’re going to intentionally expose yourself with bacteria, we suggest you opt for the health benefits that probiotics bring.
In 2017, nearly 13,000 people between the ages of 4 to 57 suffered from firework-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Fireworks can also damage your hearing – ear protection is required for decibels above 85, and fireworks emit a sound decibel of 150. Too much noise can damage the hair cells in your ear and cause nerve endings to shatter. You might have also noticed that you or someone you know who frequently listens to loud music displays difficulty hearing over time.
If you’re celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks, don’t forget your earplugs! Most importantly….
Take care of your pets
Don’t bring your dogs to the barbecue if you’re not willing to take care of them! And we don’t just mean giving them a bowl of whatever whenever you remember. Get them pet sunblock and apply every four hours to the least hairy parts of their body, and make sure you give them insect repellant too.
If they’re present when the fireworks start, make sure you’ve done your part and they have a protective blanket around them.