Here’s how to lose weight, improve your skin, avoid bug bites, and even get wet…

Get a cool sun hat (and wear it)

Keep the sun off your face and stay cool with a broad-brimmed hat. Not only will it help protect your skin (although you still need to wear sunscreen!) but it can help ward off heat stroke, a potentially deadly condition from overheating outdoors. It starts with HEAT: High temps; Exercise (or activity); Acting confused; Time to call 911. Make sure you know all the signs of heat stroke and how to treat it.

Pack a spare pair of flip flops

Athlete’s foot, that itchy, burning bane of bare feet everywhere, comes with the territory during summer. “Athlete’s foot and other skin infections can be transferred by direct contact,” explains Patricia Nicholas, MD, president of the New York State of Podiatric Medical Association from 2017-2018. Keep your tootsies safe and comfortable this season by stashing a spare pair of cheap flip-flops in your beach bag or car and use them in common areas like pool decks, locker rooms, and beaches, to avoid exposure to this tough-to-treat infection. If you do happen to get it, try the home remedies for athlete’s foot that work naturally.


Take cover


Forget the base tan this summer! Melanoma is the leading cancer killer of people under 40, and even if you don’t get the deadly type, you can still be disfigured by it. Fortunately, this is one cancer that you can do a lot to prevent. Wearing sunscreen during the summer is a must, says Eric Meinhardt, MD, a dermatologist at California Dermatology Specialists. Keep a bottle handy and reapply per the directions as long as you’re outdoors, and seek shade during the sun’s strongest hours—11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don’t forget these 10 summer skin care tips from dermatologists.

Leaves of three, let it be

Poison ivy, Toxicodendron radicans


Nothing ruins a backyard barbecue like an outbreak of itchy blisters. Recognizing poison ivy is 90 percent of the battle when it comes to avoiding the painful summertime rash.

Skewer your veggies


Vegetables on a plate are boring and prone to getting “hidden” in napkins. Vegetables on sharp sticks, on the other hand, are a fun novelty! (Don’t ask us why—human brains are weird.) Load up wooden or metal skewers with colorful, marinated vegetables, cook them on the grill, then watch your kids devour them.

Pack up the potato salad


What happens after you and your guests have had their fill of summer classics like grilled hot dogs, potato salad, cream cake, and deviled eggs? You may be tempted to lounge by the pool or take a nap on a chez lounge, but any responsible host will hop up and put the leftovers away. Food safety is one of those things that no one wants to think about but everyone wants to have, so guard against food-borne illnesses by watching out for these summer foods that are most likely to make you sick.

One-ingredient frozen treats


Indulge your sweet tooth and keep cool without sacrificing your waistline? No, you didn’t fall asleep in front of a late-night infomercial. Whip up this zero-calorie treat by taking your favorite flavored water and freezing it into an ice pop. Easy-peasy! You can eat it as a popsicle or blend it into a slushie.

Take your pasta salad to the next level


Pasta salad is a staple at summer picnics, but all the mayonnaise, ranch, bacon, and other rich toppings can add calories fast. You can have your pasta guilt-free, however, by making a few simple-yet-tasty swaps, says Kara Golis, a registered dietitian and author of Byte Sized Nutrition. Her caprese salad halves the calories but packs in the flavor with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and light balsamic dressing.

Put stuff in your water


Floaties in your drink aren’t always a good thing, as any parent of a toddler can tell you, but if they’re tasty fruits and veggies (and not of the backwash variety) they can take your water from plain to party. Slice up lemons, limes, strawberries, cucumbers, mint, basil, or other aromatic plants to give your drink a calorie-free boost. Don’t miss these 18 healthy ways to prepare your body for summer.

Snack on watermelon

The sweet, juicy melon is one of summer’s quintessential foods—and one you can enjoy guilt-free, Passarrello says. Watermelon’s high water content means it has just 46 calories per cup, compared to about 65 calories in a cup of chopped apple. “You can eat a little bigger portion than some of the other fruits for the same calories,” she says.