Fireworks, parades, picnics and BBQ’s mean you may be around a lot of unhealthy snack and food choices this weekend.

To help you make healthier choices,  we have some tips to help you stay on track:

1. Swap the bun. Choose a whole wheat option if you are having a BBQ with hamburgers and hot dogs. Or instead swap the bun for a piece of cabbage, lettuce leaf, chard or kale.

2. Choose Nitrate free hot dogs. Hot dogs can contain mystery meat. Instead look for brands that are nitrate, hormone and antibiotic free.

3. Up your veggie count. Grill lots of veggies to fill you up. Try this 4th of July themed salad and make sure to fill up at least half of your plate so you will have less room for the higher calorie options. I like to top my salad with pieces of hamburger.

4. Don’t skip meals. Eat a proper breakfast and lunch so you are not ravenous when you get to the BBQ.

5. Always wear sunscreen. If you are going to be outside, please wear a mineral based sunscreen. We do need 15-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure each day to get enough Vitamin D but the rest of the time you want to protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun and prevent yourself from aging prematurely.

6. Bring bug spray. Choose a bug spray that is all natural and has essential oils like citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar, or geranium.

7. Pack snacks for the kids. “Mom, I’m hungry!” Seems to be a constant refrain from kids of all ages. Bring along some snacks to keep them happy. One of our favorite snacks is from Made Good. Their line is free from eight common allergens and they have delicious Vanilla and Chocolate Chip Crispy Squares. Other great red, white, and blue snacks include strawberries, coconut, and blueberries.

8. Stay hydrated. Our bodies are predominantly made of water and if you are outside on a warm day you may not realize how much you are losing, especially if there is a breeze outside. Also, try to minimize the number of alcoholic beverages you consume because alcohol is dehydrating and can be loaded with sugar. If you are the designated driver or trying to avoid alcohol, bring your own flavored water with a little cucumber or lemon, or bring a probiotic water from Uncle Matt’s or aloe water from Lily of the Desert.

Have a great 4th of July long weekend and please be safe.

This article was originally published on