SHARECOMMENTMORE

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The arrival of summer means days at the pool, family barbeques, picnics, sports and other outdoor activities. Follow these tips this summer to keep your summer cookouts and snacks heart healthy and fun for the entire family.

• Make a better burger: if you're grilling burgers, be sure to buy lean or extra lean beef, drain off the excess fat after cooking and avoid making huge patties - remember that a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards (3 oz). Add finely chopped green pepper to your beef to get in some veggies.

• Baked fries: Slice white or sweet potatoes into sticks, lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray, pepper and paprika and bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.

• Veggie kabobs: load up skewers with mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash or other veggies. Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and grill until slightly blackened.

• Try grilled corn on the cob: leave the husks on, and grill for about 30 minutes over medium flame, rotating occasionally. Remove from grill, let cool for about 5 minutes, remove husks and enjoy!

• Just slice and serve: summer months are peek season for most fruits, just slice and serve - the whole family will enjoy the refreshing natural sweetness and juices just the way nature made 'em!

• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Maintain salt-water balance by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) before, during and after physical activity. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. Cool and crisp: keep a variety of colorful veggies on hand that stay cool and crunchy for a refreshing treat - baby carrots, cucumber slices, and celery sticks are just a few ideas.

• Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton, or a newer fabric that repels sweat. Add a hat and/or sunglasses.