Independence Day in Allen County means backyard cookouts, friends/family, fireworks at Faurot Park and The Star Spangled Spectacular. The Star Spangled Spectacular is designed to encourage fun, but let’s keep our health and well-being in mind. We encourage you to keep in mind a few suggestions to remain safe and healthy this holiday weekend.
1. Stay extra hydrated if consuming alcohol.
For many the 4th will involve drinking some beers or other alcoholic drinks. However, with the high temperatures, drinking too much alcohol could contribute to further dehydration. We recommend skipping the alcohol but, if you choose to drink, we recommend drinking a glass of water after every alcoholic drink.
2. Don’t ruin your holiday with food poisoning.
Cooking your meats properly and keeping your cold items cold can be a challenge on the 4th. The FDA recommends cooking burgers to an internal temperature of at least 150 degrees in order to kill bacteria like E. coli. Keep your food stored at their appropriate temperatures after they are prepared. Salad and cold side dishes should be kept cool. Potato salad is a common source of food poisoning when left out in the heat.
3. Eat more fruit and vegetables
Start filling your plate with fruits and vegetables at the family cookout, before the meats, chips and desserts. When you fill your plate with fruits and veggies first, you are less likely to load up on the unhealthier items. By eating the veggies first, you will be become full quicker and less likely to go back for seconds. Also, make sure to clean your fruits/veggies before serving. Pesticide residues are found on most non-organic fruits and vegetables.
4. Serve lean meats
Hamburgers and hot dogs are 4th of July traditions, but you can make them healthier by choosing lean versions. We suggest using ground beef that is 90% lean or greater or substituting the beef with ground turkey or a veggie burger.
5. Don’t skip meals.
You might be inclined to skip meals before the weekend to “save calories” for the holiday festivities, but that isn’t a good idea. Starving yourself before a big meal can lead to overeating, especially high-fat and high-salt foods. It can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full, so if you’re ravenously eating your meal, you can inadvertently sneak in more calories before your brain tells you to stop.
6. Use whole-wheat buns.
Skip the refined white bread. Top off your burger or hotdog with a whole-wheat bun. Whole grain bread/buns are great sources of fiber and vitamin B.
7. Get moving.
You can work off all that food by getting outside to get some holiday-appropriate exercise. The Freedom 5K Race and Freedom Fun Ride are great ways to get your 4th started right. Throwing around a frisbee or football at the cookout is an easy way to burn off some calories while having fun.
8. Protect yourself from the sun.
No matter how long you will be spending outside, you’re going to need to apply lots of sunscreen. People need to apply at least 2 tablespoons of sunscreen all over their body at least 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours!
9. Insect Repellent.
Many mosquito species are more active at night than they are during the day, so be especially mindful when you head out to watch the fireworks. Protect yourself with some insect repellent spray or a coil.
10. People with asthma or COPD should avoid going down to Faurot Park for the fireworks.
The pièce de résistance of any 4th of July celebration is the amazing fireworks display, and Lima’s Star Spangled Spectacular is no exception. However, for some people, going to the park to see the fireworks can make breathing difficult and exacerbate breathing problems. Those with asthma, COPD or other pre-existing respiratory conditions should watch from home or a safe distance away.
Follow our tips and have a fun & safe 4th of July! Happy Independance Day!