Tips for a Happy and Healthy July 4th Trip! 

Traveling for July 4th? Welcome to the club of  the estimated 40+ million Americans traveling this year. 3+ million of those will be traveling through our nation’s airports, according to AAA, so to say it will be busy is an understatement. 4th of July is also the pinnacle holiday of the summer where American’s over-indulge in BBQ and seem to forget about our exercise and health goals. We developed our Tips for a Happy and Healthy July 4th Trip so you won’t be one of those! 

PLAN

The number 1 best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to PLAN. Know when you will have down time to get some exercise or rest. Know when you’ll have an opportunity to eat healthy and when you’ll be challenged. Know how you’ll politely refuse your 6th Bud Light of the afternoon. This may be as simple as talking with your host or family. It’s super easy and quick, but often over-looked. 

 

EAT

 

One of the best parts of 4th of July weekend is the BBQ with family and friends. It’s the heart and soul of America and something we look forward to every year. It’s also a trap for eating and drinking way too much. Some research estimates the average BBQ meal is over 3,200 calories!! That’s not to scare you away from the grill (we haven’t missed a BBQ, EVER), but to remind you that moderation is key and there are simple swaps to make the grill much healthier

 

My Tips for a healthy BBQ

  1. Snack healthier: Instead of the pre-lunch potato chips, volunteer to provide a vegetable platter (those cut up carrots, broccoli, celery etc.). This will ensure you’re getting your veggies, filling up on important fiber and missing out on the empty calories of potato chips.
  2. Tweak the side dishes: Potato salad and cole slaw are usually made with mayo and baked beans are full of sugar which means a seemingly healthy dish is no longer healthy. A simple Google search of healthy swaps to the mayo and sugar produce plenty of tasty options for keeping your side dishes healthy.
  3. Volunteer to make the sides: Because of the previous point, volunteer to make the sides yourself. This will ensure you can make them healthy.
  4. Limit the alcohol: I think this one is obvious, but when we get in the moment we sometimes forget it. Just remember, alcohol will lower your self control. One tip is to wait until after the BBQ is over to start drinking. This will lower the temptation  to eat too much during the meal.
  5. Drink water! Lots of water: It’ll keep you hydrated and feel full – 2 birds with one stone!

 

MOVE

 

Exercising while traveling is already difficult and adding in a prime time holiday makes it even harder. However, with a little self discipline and planning, you can stay active over the holiday weekend! Something as simple as a walk with a family member or friend to catch up instead of sitting on the coach is a great start. You should also take advantage of the awesome weather and outdoors – run, bike, swim or anything that gets the heart moving!

 

My Tips for staying active over the holiday weekend:

  1. Walk and talk: Catch up with friends and family on a walk rather than at a bar or sitting on your couch
  2. Just walk: In general, people underestimate the benefits of walking. Outside of all the mental benefits, you’re burning up to 150 calories in 30 minutes. Plan a walk every evening or after every meal.
  3. Channel your inner child: Remember when you thought running around the backyard in the summer was as good as it gets? You’re never too old to play!
  4. Schedule a class or run: Look for exercise classes at local gyms or July 4th organized runs (5k?) on Active.com
  5. Get out early: The best time to work out is the morning before all the fun starts. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to leave when the FOMO kicks in…
  6. If you’re at the beach, check out my tips for staying healthy HERE

 

July 4th Fun Run

 

 

RELAX ON THE ROAD (OR IN THE SKY)

 

Travel stress, whether driving or flying, shouldn’t ruin your trip. It’s a simple law of averages that IF you travel a few times, you’re bound to have travel related delays and issues. It sucks. It really sucks. But it is absolutely not worth losing your cool over. I find that 10 minutes of planning ahead of time can greatly reduce travel anxiety.

 

My Tips for Reducing Travel Stress:

  1. Have a Plan B (and C): Knowing what flight alternatives you have if yours doesn’t work out or the next fastest car route can turn a big issue into a small blip
  2. Don’t cut it close: Even if you typically arrive at the airport 45 minutes before your flight, plan on at least double that with the holiday traffic. Same goes with car travel. A 3 hour trip can take significantly more with so many people on the road!
  3. Keep your charge: Keep your cell phone charged so that when issues occur, you can quickly jump on the phone with the airline agents or Google Maps without fumbling around for a electrical outlet.

 

REST

 

Your holiday trip should also be restful. You work hard and deserve to relax and enjoy yourself over the weekend so don’t settle for anything less. Whether it’s a missed flight or unease sleeping in a weird place, make the most of it and you’ll head back home rested and relaxed.

 

My Tips for Resting on Vacation

  1. Plan (see a theme?): Know where you’ll be sleeping and whether you’ll need anything to help you sleep better (e.g., ear plugs, extra pillow etc.).
  2. Stay on your time zone clock: It’s tempting to force your body to adjust to your new time zone, but it’ll be easier to keep your normal time zone for a long weekend. Even if it means going to bed early, your sleep will thank you when you get back home.
  3. Let go of the FOMO (fear of missing out): Just because your single brother is hitting the bars at night doesn’t mean you have to tag along. It’s your vacation. Politely decline the request and enjoy the extra few hours of relaxing and sleep.

 

ENJOY!

 

Don’t forget to enjoy it. Life goes too quickly and too often we get caught up in the next thing that we forget to enjoy life’s simple pleasures — family and friends.

 

Happy July 4th!

P.S. – Don’t forget the sunscreen!