Feature Archive

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Memorial Day

From light eating to the No. 1 beach danger, here are tips to making your Memorial Day healthy and safe.

By Heather Hatfield
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith

After months of patiently waiting, it's finally here: the sizzling hot days of summer. With summer serving as the unofficial start to the celebrated season of sun, you want to make sure it's as healthy and safe for you and your family as possible.

From traffic safety to diet reminders, here are tips experts gave WebMD that will have you starting your summer off on the right flip-flop.

The Season of BBQs

Summer is synonymous with barbecues: hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and ice cream. But does the start of summer mean the end of your healthy diet and bathing-suit ready figure? It doesn't have to, an expert from the American Dietetic Association tells WebMD, and she recommends you start by taking advantage of the healthy foods that are in season.

"Enjoy plenty of fruits and veggies, which are fresh and delicious and starting to be more abundant by summer weekend," says Lola O'Rourke, a registered dietitian in Seattle. "If you're grilling, cook a veggie kabob as part of the meal."

Then, the trick is to eat the veggie kabob first, so you take the hunger-edge off before digging into the more diet-dangerous foods, such as burgers and chips.

"When it comes to burgers, they can be enjoyed, but keep portion size moderate," says O'Rourke, who is a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Similarly with chips, watch portion size and choose baked chips if you can."

And when you do indulge in that burger, balance it out with some exercise.


"I think that it's important to remember that it's a balance of calories and physical activity," says O'Rourke. "If you want to have chips and a burger on summer weekend, incorporate some physical activity into the weekend to balance it out -- it's a great time to get outside and physical activity really is a key part of managing weight and staying healthy."

Hitting the Road

With millions of people starting the summer season by taking a road trip, the AAA recommends keeping these travel tips in mind:

  • Buckle up for safety -- and to avoid that ticket. "Buckle up and make sure that kids are properly secured in child safety seats," says McNaull. "These simple steps greatly increase your odds of surviving and reducing injuries if a crash happens." You can also avoid getting a ticket.
  • Get a good night's sleep. "Drowsy drivers can be as dangerous as drunk drivers, committing many of the same mistakes behind the wheel," says McNaull, who was a police officer with the Arlington County police department in Virginia for six years. "Be sure to get a good night's sleep before you take a long road trip."