Enjoy your cookouts, barbeques and tailgates this July 4th holiday! I know I will! And, that includes eating good food.   But, I won’t skip my workouts. The workouts keep everything in check.


Here are 10 tips to help you navigate through the holiday food minefield:

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1) Don’t stop or slack off on your exercise program this July 4th weekend. And, if you aren’t exercising, then this would be a great time to start. I have a goal of at least trying to maintain my pre-holiday weight during the long weekend (1 week vacation for some).

2) Go easy on BBQ sauce and other sauces. They are loaded with calories.

3) Stick to your normal nutrition plan as much as possible during the holiday. Go back to your normal nutrition the day after the holiday.

4) This rule always applies to any day—if its fried, let it slide!

5. If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation.  When you take a drink of alcohol, your body converts a small amount of it into fat and the rest is converted (by the liver) into a substance called acetate. This acetate is then quickly released into the bloodstream and used as the body’s main source of energy.

So, your body is using the acetate for energy instead of the stored fat in your body. The more you drink, the more fat your body will store (many times belly fat).

Added to this problem is the fact that alcohol consumption can increase your appetite. Researchers from Denmark found that a group of men ate more when they were served beer or wine and they ate less when served a soft drink.

6) You don’t have to eat until you are stuffed! Just eat enough to satisfy yourself.

Fill up on protein foods first and you will eat less. Research has proven that protein keeps blood sugar levels more steady when you have a meal that includes carbohydrates. Protein helps you feel fuller for a longer period (slower digestion). Protein also keeps the hunger hormone (ghrelin) in check so your hunger doesn’t spike so high.

7) Don’t spend all of your time eating during the holiday. Walk around the mall for a couple of hours, walk the pets everyday, play pick-up games, cut the lawn, etc.

8) Drink plenty of water and you will eat less.  This will help you limit sugary drinks that pack on belly fat. Your body is about two-thirds water. Drink water and unsweetened drinks (like tea) most of the time. It will help you eat less and help your body function better.

Drink about half your weight in water every day. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water each day.

Remember, certain foods contain large amounts of water. This counts toward your water intake. For instance watermelon is about 90% water and lettuce has about 95% water. Some meats contain as much as 70% water.

Water also helps your body flex muscles, remove wastes, cushion joints, carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells and helps convert food into energy (although water doesn’t provide energy).

You may be experiencing dehydration if you have dry lips/mouth, dizziness, headache, nausea or muscle cramps. When you exercise, drink about a cup of water every 15 minutes.

9) Allow yourself one dessert a day (or a sample of a few).   It’s okay since you are going to exercise tomorrow—-right?

10) Here’s something that also works for the July 4th holiday: start your day with a workout and toward the end of your day take a long walk in the park or at the lake.

Bonus Holiday Smoothies

Smoothies are a great choice for healthy, delicious treats during the hot July 4th holiday. Smoothies will save you money and are perfect for holidays or whenever.

Here are 3 yummy holiday smoothies:


1 cup nonfat, vanilla or plain Greek Yogurt
1-1/2 cups frozen banana slices
1/2 cups pineapple chunks
5 frozen strawberries, sliced
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons sweetened cocoa powder (to taste)
Sprinkle with crushed walnuts or almonds

Blend until smooth.


1 peach, frozen, cut
10 blueberries, frozen
1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 tablespoon crushed pecan
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend until smooth.


1/2 cups each ripe pineapple and mango, cut up
1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Blend until smooth.

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Author Details
Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist Your Fitness University
Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and Myofascial Release/Self Massage Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes with my 5-Star Body Transformation Plan, where YOU are the main STAR. The 5-Star Plan helps you to achieve better long-term health, which includes body transformation and ideal body weight. I do not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.

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