Since fresh fruits and vegetables are so plentiful in summer, it’s easy for your family to enjoy them. Keep a variety of fruits and vegetables on hand for snacks and meals. Many families do more outdoor cooking and eating during the summer months. Keeping food safe on hot summer days can be challenging. Unless perishables are stored at the right temperature, you could be in for a nasty case of food poisoning. Cold foods must stay cold and hot foods hot. Foods like sandwiches and dairy products should be kept in an icebox or cooler so their temperature stays below 4°C.
Eat hot foods immediately after cooking. It is important to cook foods thoroughly, especially when using an outdoor grill or barbecue where the heat is not always uniform across the grill. Meats, especially hamburgers, must be well-cooked to prevent serious food poisoning. Cook hamburgers until the meat is brown throughout the burger.
Any surface that has come in contact with raw meat, fish or poultry must be thoroughly cleaned. Never use the same surface to prepare or chop raw meats and foods that will be eaten uncooked. Remember to wash your hands well before preparing food and after handling any raw meat, fish or poultry.
Step 2 - Drink Lots of Fluid In order to function well your body needs a regular intake of fluids. During hot summer days fluid intake must be increased since you sweat more to keep yourself cool. Water is a good refresher – try to take in six to eight glasses a day. If you exercise strenuously at work or while playing sports, drink extra water to compensate.
Drinks with caffeine, including coffee, strong tea, and colas, should be taken in moderation. Caffeine is a diuretic and makes your kidneys get rid of fluid. The same is true of any alcoholic beverage. Avoid diuretics in hot weather.
Step 3 - Don't Drink and Drive
Though summer is a carefree time, it can too easily be marred by an alcohol-related tragedy. If you are driving, do not drink alcohol. This rule applies whether you are operating a car, bicycle, boat or other vehicle. Similarly, do not drink while waterskiing, swimming or engaging in any water-sport activity. Many alcohol-related drownings happen each year.
Step 4 - Get Fit
Summer is a wonderful time to get fit. Walking, running, swimming, roller-blading, cycling, hiking – the list of enjoyable warm-weather activities is endless. Whatever activity you choose, do it safely. Wear proper protective equipment, especially the right helmet. Before trying a new activity, take a course so you know how to do it properly. You’ll enjoy it more and achieve the maximum fitness benefit.
For those who are not fit, a word of caution: start slowly and gradually increase your activity. Don’t go out on a two-week hike or plan a two-week tennis vacation unless you’re ready for it. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Step 5 - Engage Your Children
With the kids out of school, summer is a time when you can plan family activities. Don’t let your kids get bored. There are many things kids can do even if your budget is tight. Go for a picnic, a hike, bike ride or a visit to the park. Get together with other parents and visit a different playground. Take snacks, drinks and a ball or frisbee with you. During rainy weather, museums and cheap afternoon movie matinees are good alternatives. Older children may benefit from volunteering at a day camp or seniors’ centre.
If work keeps you away from your kids all day, look for supervised day camp or program in your community. YMCAs, Scouts and Guides usually offer reasonably priced weekly camps. Arrange to send the kids to visit friends or relatives in another city, and plan a reciprocal visit later in the summer. Children get an unforgettable experience, while mom and dad get a break.
Be active, be safe and enjoy summer.