It’s the end of May already?!

Commence grilling, backyard activities and enjoying warmer weather.

I love this time of year–it’s actually getting warm (on some days…) and Memorial Day weekend gives us an excuse to spend more time with friends and family while honoring those that fought for our freedom.

When it comes to healthfully enjoying a long weekend of cookouts, picnics and family gatherings, remember these three simple tips:

Get active

Let the focus of the day be on spending quality time with loved ones rather than on food and drink. Round up the gang for a game of anything and get moving! Bring whatever balls, frisbees or outdoor game equipment you have. No gear? Go for a walk or a hike in a nearby park. Better yet, bond with the kiddos and they’ll be more than happy to make up a game that involves running around after them.

Knowing you’ll be active can also help prevent overeating. My extended family likes to gather for a game of backyard volleyball after we’ve eaten. Some of us aren’t so skilled so we end up getting lots of extra exercise from chasing the ball into the nearby woods.

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Let seasonal veggies and fruits steal the show

When it’s time for food, start by loading up half your plate with fruits and veggies. The easiest way to do this healthfully is to stay away from the creamy bowl of lumpiness and head for the fresh veggie tray or grilled veggies. If you’re hosting, always have a veggie tray and either a fruit salad, fruit tray or assortment of whole fruit available. If you’re a guest, offer to bring the veggie or fruit tray. Juicy watermelon for dessert, anyone?

Fill the other half of your plate with protein-rich foods and whole grains or starchy foods. Think veggie burger on a whole-grain bun, baked beans, nuts, legume or grain salads and potatoes. Resist getting second helpings until you’ve allowed your food to digest for about 20 minutes and then reevaluate if you’re still hungry.

One of my aunts makes a cold quinoa salad for our family cookouts–it always contains quinoa and kale and she mixes up the rest of the ingredients. One of my favorite versions included pomegranate seeds and edamame–no recipe required, use whatever you’ve got on hand!

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Keep tabs on alcohol

We all like to kick back and enjoy an ice-cold brewski from time to time. But let it stop there. Not only is drinking too much detrimental to health, it can put a damper on an otherwise active and refreshing afternoon. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend females limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day and males to no more than two drinks per day.

Over-consuming alcohol can cause you to consume more food (or types of food) than you may have otherwise and it can hold you back from enjoying physical activities. Not to mention possible dehydration and feeling cruddy later in the day or the next morning.

Aim to enjoy one adult beverage and then switch to seltzer water, fruit-infused water or plain old H2O. It’s important to stay hydrated and energized for all those fun outdoor activities!

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Wishing you all a relaxing and enjoyable holiday weekend!

 

 

 

 

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