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Have a Healthy and Safe Family Gathering

Plan a healthy menu

Serve food and drinks that are low in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, which provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health, and also may reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

As you plan and prepare healthy meals, follow the recipe for food safety to help avoid harmful foodborne bacteria:

  • Photo: Women cooking in kitchenClean: Wash produce. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food.
  • Separate: Don't cross-contaminate one food with another.
  • Cook: Cook meat, poultry, and eggs thoroughly.
  • Chill: Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
  • Report: Report suspected foodborne illnesses to your local public health department.

You can accommodate the dietary needs of relatives with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or other conditions. Find helpful meal planning hints to enjoy your favorite foods with healthier ingredients.

Move together

Plan activities to include walking, hiking, dancing, swimming, or other things to get the body moving. You can socialize and stay fit at the same time. Pick fun physical activities to do together, and enjoy the health benefits.

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Adults need at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity activity every week.

Know and share your family health history

It is also a good time to share family history—people, events, places, and dates. Why not share your family health history too?

A family health history is a written or graphic record of the diseases and health conditions present in your family. You can’t change your genes, but you can change behaviors that affect your health, such as smoking, inactivity, and poor eating habits. People with a family history of chronic disease (for instance, cancer, diabetes, or coronary heart disease) may have the most to gain from making such lifestyle changes. Take a health quiz with family members to determine risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Travel smart

No matter the distance you are traveling, keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid drinking and driving.
  • Make sure adults and children are buckled up in motor vehicles.
  • If you're taking a cruise, check ship inspection scores.
  • If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you've had all appropriate vaccinations for your destination. Check out travel notices about current health issues related to specific destinations.

Visit CDC's Travelers' Health to learn more about safe travel.

Enjoy and be safe

Enjoy family and friends—and take precautions to make sure they are safe while visiting and playing. Learn how to stay safe and healthy while enjoying the outdoors and traveling.

Go green

Be conscious of the environment—and help sustain it for future generations. Whenever possible, recycle items from your gathering.

More Information

  • Page last reviewed: December 9, 2013
  • Page last updated: December 9, 2013
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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