Skip to content

6 Ways to Eat Healthily This Holiday Weekend

Don’t let Fourth of July celebrations throw off your diet

Healthy eating on Fourth of July

Getty Images

You can make healthy choices while still enjoying the food at your picnic

Most of us will be celebrating the Fourth of July, whether just on Tuesday or over a long four-day weekend. The holiday, and any extra days off, could mean more cookouts and parties. But you don’t have to abandon your summer diet completely to enjoy some American comfort food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these tips on how to enjoy holiday gatherings while eating healthily.

  1. If you're going to a picnic, offer to bring a covered dish; then make sure to prepare a healthy one. That way you’ll have at least one nutritious option to choose from.
  2. When presented with lots of tempting fare at a buffet table, it’s OK to choose less healthy options, but just take small portions. 
  3. Be sure to select a vegetable, but don’t save it to eat last. Start your meal with veggies, which are more nutrient dense and higher in fiber, as this will take the edge off your appetite. 
  4. At some point during the picnic, take a walk. A good stroll can work off some of that heavier food. 
  5. Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can affect blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.
  6. Get enough rest. It’s a long weekend, but our schedules can easily get packed, especially if the weather is nice. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

No doubt there will be temptations all around as you go to picnics and cookouts. But just because others are splurging doesn’t mean you have to. And remember to eat slowly. As the CDC notes, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full. Finally, if you're hosting a cookout, keep in mind that what you grill is more important than how you grill it, say experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research. AARP previously reported on reducing cancer risk from outdoor grilling.

AARP Members Enjoy Health and Wellness Discounts: You can save on eye exams, prescription drugs, hearing aids and more