Sunshine! Barbecues! Fireworks! Who doesn’t love a good Independence Day celebration? 

To many of us, it’s not just about celebrating our great nation and proudly displaying your red, white, and blue, but it’s also about spending time with family and friends, being outdoors and seeing fireworks.

As we are enjoying ourselves this holiday, there are some easy steps we can take to make sure we stay safe and healthy.  It doesn’t take much, but a little pre-planning can go a long way. From preventing sunburn to avoiding food poisoning and everything in between, we’ve got a list of the top-ten ways to have a healthy summer.

  • 1

    Wear Sunscreen

    Although being outside in the sun is a great way to absorb some healthy Vitamin D, make sure to use sun protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.  Studies show that sunburns increase risk of skin cancer by 12 times!

  • 2

    Eat Light

    No one wants to eat a heavy filling meal on hot, humid day. Make salads and sides the main course. Grill your meal.  You will probably be snacking all day, so make healthy snacks like veggie sticks readily available.

  • 3

    Stay Hydrated with Water

    No matter where you are in America, July is hot! Be sure to drink plenty of water and keep your body from overheating, and stay away from caffeinated and sugary drinks that dehydrate you.

  • 4

    Start an Active Tradition

    Be it an annual family kickball tournament, neighborhood volleyball game or a pre-dinner hike, an annual activity will be a welcomed event to any July 4th celebration.

  • 5

    Wear Some Earplugs

    The sounds of summer—such as fireworks and marching bands—can actually damage your hearing.  In fact, fireworks have a sound decibel of 150, and ear protection is recommended for decibels above 85.

  • 6

    Make Sure you’re Using a Clean Grill

    A dirty grill can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. After you are done grilling, do a quick clean up of any visible debris and food, then turn up the heat and let the grill burn off a bit. Also, a clean grill can prevent flare-ups.

  • 7

    Keep Hot food Hot and Cold food Cold

    Be sure you cook all of your food to the recommended temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria and keep things that should be refrigerated in a cooler over ice. If this is not possible, consider taking such items off the menu so that no one gets sick.

  • 8

    Play Lawn Games

    Encourage your party guests to bring their favorite lawn game instead of yet another dessert. Then you can take turns trying out all the different games.  Plus, it encourages everyone to be active and fit!

  • 9

    Skip Sugary Desserts

    This is the season when tons of fresh fruit is available from the grocery, farmers markets, and fruit stands! Cut up strawberries and melon or grill peaches, pineapple or bananas to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding unnecessary processed sugar.

  • 10

    Make Healthy Drinks

    Instead of providing sugar filled sodas to guests, make healthy variations such as homemade iced tea sweetened with agave nectar, or even sparkling cucumber water!