Summer get-togethers: Make them fun and healthy

February 16, 2017

Make them fun and healthy

Ah, summer! It's time to kick back and get together at backyard bashes, picnics in the park and parades on the Fourth of July. Here are some tips on how to keep those celebrations as healthy as they are fun.iStock-516180836.jpg

Get everybody moving. Organize gatherings around activities that get guests on their feet. Explore a local trail together or, if kids are attending, head out on a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Play active games--maybe soccer in a nearby field or croquet or volleyball in your backyard.

Serve thirst-quenching, crowd-pleasing drinks. Beat summer heat by rethinking drinks. Skip sugary sodas and offer pitchers of ice-cold water instead. Add thinly sliced lemons, limes, watermelon or strawberries for flavor.

Pile on fresh produce. Serve family and friends just-picked summer fruits and vegetables. Fresh, in-season produce is at its peak in flavor and nutrition, so be ready for requests for seconds. Think veggie kebabs, leafy green salads and big bowls of cut-up fruit.

Keep uninvited guests away. Don't let disease-causing bacteria contaminate your food at outdoor gatherings. Place perishable foods--such as burgers, deviled eggs and potato salad--in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. And keep the cooler in the shade. Bacteria multiply rapidly in warm temperatures.

Dish up a patriotic ending. Serve a red, white and blue dessert: a no-bake watermelon cake. It's topped with white, yogurt-based frosting and mouth-watering blueberries. This sweet treat is packed with nutrients and low in calories. For the recipe, go to www.morehealth.org/watermeloncake.

Finally, be a cheerleader for healthy habits. Keep in mind that children of all ages copy what adults around them do-whether that's eating well or moving more, even at parties.

Sources: American Institute for Cancer Research; U.S. Department of Agriculture

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