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Independence Day falls on Wednesday this year, and many of us will end up celebrating on Wednesday AND attending a barbeque on the weekend. It's double the fun and temptation this year. Not to worry, you can still find a way to enjoy your Fourth of July while keeping your health and fitness goals on track. Here are some of my favorite fit tips that I consider party essentials!
1. The H2O Factor! Use water to keep you hydrated and to lower your caloric intake. The obvious reason for drinking water is to keep hydrated, but there is an additional benefit-you can limit your intake of empty calories by replacing soda and other sugary drinks with a glass of water. Add a wedge of lemon if you would like to perk up your water! The lemon will give you a refreshing flavor, without the calories. Also, because lemons are high in pectin fiber, sipping on lemon water will help stave off hunger cravings. Citrus can be so helpful! Check out Tip #2 for a Citrus Vegetable recipe that tastes amazing on the grill.
The same advice goes for alcoholic beverages, drink in moderation. A great rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage. A little step like this will go a long way.
2. Make Mindful Food Choices. Be proactive about your food decisions, and eat quality calories first. For example, eat a salad before hitting the chip bowl. If you are hungry and start with the junk food, you are likely to get way too much of the wrong types of nutrients.
If you're the host, you have control over the type of food that will be available. If you'll be hosted by someone else, you may have to do a little more work to make sure you have some healthy options. If you aren't sure, bring a healthy dish or snack platter. One of my favorites is vegetable skewers. Use your favorite vegetables (green peppers, orange peppers, red peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and onions are a few options). You will end up with a rainbow of colors that will taste delicious. Citrus Vegetables Recipe (If you decide to grill, leave out the steaming step and add your veggies onto a skewer!)
3. Physical Activity - Get your body moving! Be creative about how you fit a workout into your day. You could go the traditional route and hit the gym in the morning. You may decide instead to weave in several short activities throughout the day. Having a Frisbee or a football to toss around is an easy way to break up the food and snack marathon. If you'll be at the beach or lake, take a walk along the water. If it's a house party, a nice stroll around the block works too! There are many ways to stay active; we just have to commit to fitting them in.
Enjoy your holiday. Be happy, healthy and energized!