School is winding down, and the weather is heating up. May is giving way to June, and Memorial Day is right around the corner. This holiday is about so much more than backyard barbecues and splashing good fun. It’s also an opportunity to remember and celebrate those who fought for our country, while spending quality time with family and friends.
Started informally to remember fallen soldiers of the Civil War, Memorial Day wasn’t officially recognized as a holiday until 1971. The exact origins have long been debated, but there is no doubt that the holiday was quickly embraced by the American public to honor service members killed in war.
Healthier Memorial Day Food
Over the years, Memorial Day has transformed into a day to gather with friends and family to remember, eat, drink and play. That doesn’t mean healthy eating has to go out the window. Get the whole family on board to help put together a meal that is as good as it is good for you. Think outside the box with something entirely new, cool off with a nutritious choice at your favorite restaurant or follow these tips to freshen up old favorites:
- Skip the chips and creamy dip: Opt for crunchy veggies or fresh fruit dipped in yogurt or hummus.
- Grill the good stuff: Lean turkey burgers, veggie burgers, chicken breast, sirloin or fish are all tasty choices for leaner protein.
- Go with the grains: Opt for whole wheat buns for extra fiber, which will fill you up faster and sneak in some extra vitamins and minerals.
- Load ‘em up: Pile your burger with lots of veggies, like lettuce, tomato and even grilled veggies, and lighten up heavier toppings such as bacon and mayonnaise.
- Drink up: Make sure everyone in the family is getting plenty of water during the day. Try infused water or lemonade mixed with sparkling water for hydration with less sugar.
- Don’t forget the treats: Enlist the kids to help make lighter dessert options like fruit salad, jello or fruit popsicles.
Get Active this Memorial Day
Memorial Day isn’t just a great opportunity to eat well; it’s also a perfect time to get active and have some fun! Here are a few ideas to help get your family moving:
- Get out and about: Going for a hike, bike ride or walk together gives you time to reconnect with each other and nature.
- See the sights: Find Memorial Day events in your area such as parades and ceremonies. Attending these powerful events gets your family up and moving while honoring soldiers, the real reason for the holiday.
- Swim: Whether it’s in your backyard pool, the public pool, a local lake, river or beach, splashing and swimming can be a great way to move and play while you cool off.
- Play some games: If you plan to stay home for the holiday, get silly with the kids by playing some outdoor games.
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to go by the wayside on holidays. Treat yourself well and reconnect with family while you remember our fallen heroes this Memorial Day.