Four Healthy Eating Tips for the Fourth
Whether you’ll be watching (or marching in) a parade, firing up the grill, attending a festival or staying up late to watch the fireworks, healthy eating is a must on our nation’s Independence Day.
- If at a barbecue, fill half your plate with veggies to avoid overdoing it on the higher calorie items. Green leafy salad, cucumbers, coleslaw and grilled veggies are good picks. If you’re at a festival, beans and corn on the cob are nourishing, albeit higher in calories. Just watch the butter on the corn! High fiber fruits — such as watermelon and berries — will fill you up and help to hydrate you, too.
- Speaking of hydration, remember if it‘s hot, drink in anticipation of your water needs. Drink enough so that your urine is the color of straw. As you age, your sense of thirst becomes diminished. If you’re a baby boomer or older, drink up even if you aren’t thirsty. While the best hydrator is water, iced tea, lemonade, iced coffee and soft drinks also help to hydrate. Alcohol is a de-hydrator.
- Keep tabs on your alcohol consumption. Alcohol weakens your willpower and can reinforce your cravings for fatty, salty foods. Choose a beer or wine over iced, fruity concoctions such as Margaritas. Alternate sparkling or still water with your drinks.
- Always keep food safety in mind. Research shows color is NOT a reliable indicator of the doneness of foods like ground beef. The only way to determine safety is to use a meat thermometer and cook to 160º F. Surprisingly, a safely cooked burger may look brown, pink or some variation of brown or pink.
For more information about food safety on the 4th of July, visit the USDA’s blog.