Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Food & Recipes

Font Size

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.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

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 flip-flop.

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 some exercise.


"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 ticket.
  • 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 sleep.

    "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."

Today on WebMD

Four spoons with mustards
What condiments are made of and how much to use.
salmon and spinach
How to get what you need.
 
grilled veggies
Easy ideas for dinner tonight.
Greek Salad
Health benefits, what you can eat and more.
 

WebMD Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.



bread
Recipes
soup
Recipes
 
roasted chicken
Recipes
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
 
vegetarian sandwich
Recipes
fresh vegetables
Recipes
 
smoothie
fitArticle
Foods To Boost Mens Heath Slideshow
Slideshow