How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Memorial Day
From light eating to the No. 1 beach danger, here are tips to making your Memorial Day healthy and safe.
After months of patiently waiting, it's finally here: the
sizzling hot days of summer. With summer serving as the unofficial start to the
celebrated season of sun, you want to make sure it's as healthy and safe for
you and your family as possible.
From traffic safety to diet reminders, here are tips experts
gave WebMD that will have you starting your summer off on the right
The Season of BBQs
Summer is synonymous with barbecues: hamburgers, hot dogs,
potato salad, and ice cream. But does the start of summer mean the end of your
healthy diet and bathing-suit ready figure? It doesn't have to, an expert from
the American Dietetic Association tells WebMD, and she recommends you start by
taking advantage of the healthy foods that are in season.
"Enjoy plenty of fruits and veggies, which are fresh and
delicious and starting to be more abundant by summer weekend," says Lola
O'Rourke, a registered dietitian in Seattle. "If you're grilling, cook a
veggie kabob as part of the meal."
Then, the trick is to eat the veggie kabob first, so you take
the hunger-edge off before digging into the more diet-dangerous foods, such as
burgers and chips.
"When it comes to burgers, they can be enjoyed, but keep
portion size moderate," says O'Rourke, who is a spokeswoman for the
American Dietetic Association. "Similarly with chips, watch portion size
and choose baked chips if you can."
And when you do indulge in that burger, balance it out with
"I think that it's important to remember that it's a balance of calories
and physical activity," says O'Rourke. "If you want to have chips and a
burger on summer weekend, incorporate some physical activity into the weekend
to balance it out -- it's a great time to get outside and physical activity
really is a key part of managing weight and staying healthy."
Hitting the Road
With millions of people starting the summer season by taking a
road trip, the AAA recommends keeping these travel tips in mind:
- Buckle up for safety -- and to avoid that ticket. "Buckle up and
make sure that kids are properly secured in child safety seats," says
McNaull. "These simple steps greatly increase your odds of surviving and
reducing injuries if a crash happens." You can also avoid getting a
- Get a good night's sleep. "Drowsy drivers can be as dangerous as
drunk drivers, committing many of the same mistakes behind the wheel," says
McNaull, who was a police officer with the Arlington County police department
in Virginia for six years. "Be sure to get a good night's sleep before you
take a long road trip."
And don't think that a cup of coffee or open windows will substitute for
"If you feel yourself getting drowsy, take a break," says McNaull.
"Getting out of the car for some exercise or a caffeinated drink can buy
you a couple minutes of alertness, but are not substitutes for sleep."
- Don't drink and drive.
- Do a pre-road trip checkup. "Taking 10 minutes to ensure that
your car's tires are properly inflated, that the fluids are topped off, and
everything under the hood looks all right, can identify problems that could
lead to breakdowns during your trip," says McNaull. "Breakdowns can put
a damper on your vacation schedule and budget, plus leave you stuck on the side
of the road -- a potentially dangerous place to be."