Cute, colorful set of vector summer elements with pink flamingo, tropical leaves and flowers, tropical fruits and popsicle. Isolated on white, text reads ‘Summer’.

Summer is here, so put on your best sundress, pack that cooler, fire up the grill and have fun!  But before you hit the beach, park or cookout, there’s a few do’s and don’ts you should know about in order to have a happy (and healthy) summer.

DO keep food refrigerated: Leaving food out in the open creates a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria, and this is exacerbated with the summer heat.  Where the general rule of thumb for leaving food out was around 2 hours, once it’s in the sun that limit dwindles down to a mere hour, if that.  Keep raw meat in an iced cooler, and the same goes for potato salad, fish, and well, basically anything else “perishable” that you plan on eating!

DO stay hydrated: With the summer heat bearing down on you, you’ll tend to sweat more than you do any other time of the year.  To combat this and avoid feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or lethargic, drink plenty of refreshing drinks.  Stay away from coffee (including iced coffee), sodas, and sugary drinks as these will all conspire against you by actually dehydrating you. Focus on drinking plain old water, low-calorie flavored water, or low-sugar sports drinks packed with electrolytes.

DO have “fun” cookouts: If you are hosting a cookout, it’s easy to liven up the party by incorporating your guests into the grilling action.  Instead of focusing on being the sole grill master while everyone else entertains themselves, try to get them in on the action and make your cooking more interactive.  Have them add their own seasonings, provide an extra spatula in case someone wants to help, and have a few dishes with accompanying dips.

DON’T wear socks with sandals: This applies to every time of year, and every location; but especially at the beach. Not a health tip, just a fashion one.

DON’T poke your meat: While grilling burgers and meat, avoid using a grill fork to poke and flip it over.  By putting a hole into the meat you are losing out on precious juices that will keep the cooked meat moist and tender.  There’s a health aspect to it too; by poking a hole in raw meat, you could be pushing in bacteria that was residing on the outside of the meat. Once it’s inside, that bacteria may continue to live even after you think your meat is well cooked.  When it comes to grilling meat and burgers, you can’t go wrong with the trusty combo of meat tongs and a spatula.  Important: DON’T use the same tongs to take cooked meat off the grill that you used to touch it raw in order to avoid cross contamination.

DON’T stress, and have fun!  Relax, and enjoy the weather.  If you are taking a trip to the beach, don’t overload yourself. It’s easy to remain stress-free if you avoid packing too much food that might go bad.  For example, instead of bringing potato salad, try bringing baked potato chips.  Remember to use sunscreen, insect repellant, and stock up on ice for the cooler.  When at the beach or park, don’t skimp on personal hygiene because the bathroom is farther away; wash your hands before and after handling food to avoid illnesses.

By remembering these handy tips, you can enjoy a much smoother summer.  So what are you waiting for?  Crack open that ice cold beer, slide that burger onto the flaming grill and have fun!

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Cited Sources

Clark, Meghan. “The Dos and Don’t of Summer Road Trips.” 7 June 2011. Web. 15 June 2012. <>.

Albright, Tia. “8 Summer Dos and Don’ts.” N.p., 9 June 2009. Web. 15 June 2012. <>.

“The Dos and Don’ts of Summer Entertaining.” Reader’s Digest, n.d. Web. 15 June 2012. <>.