OK, we admit it—this summer has been a little strange. Postponed vacations, no beach trips, wearing face masks in sweltering heat. Now we’re heading into fall and the last official barbecue holiday of the year. Let’s have a little fun for Labor Day! Even though many of us still have to restrict our activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can still celebrate at home. Try a good old-fashioned field day in your backyard with your family!

Channel your inner child

Show your kids that you were a kid once too.

  • Play the games you did when you were little: red light, green light; Simon says; mother may I; tag; hide-and-seek; duck, duck, goose; dodgeball; four square; hopscotch.
  • String up a badminton or volleyball net.
  • Handmake whimsical prizes for the winners.

Stay safe

  • Limit time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which is when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are most intense. This applies to overcast days too.
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it periodically, especially if you’re sweating or having fun in the pool or sprinkler. This applies to overcast days too!
  • Stay hydrated. Fill carafes of ice water with a splash of your favorite juice or a tasty combination of mint sprigs and sliced lemons, oranges, limes or cucumbers.
  • To protect yourself from biting bugs—especially mosquitoes and ticks that can carry Zika virus and Lyme disease—wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, cover your legs and apply insect repellent that contains DEET.
  • If you choose to roll out the grill, be sure to place it on stable ground at least 10 feet away from any buildings or overhanging tree branches, and keep a connected water hose or fully charged fire extinguisher within arm’s reach.

Make an easy-peasy picnic

  • Instead of gourmet-level meals, make simple, cold dishes like pasta salad (see recipe below), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna salad, and a fresh melon/berry salad with honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and a kiss of agave syrup.
  • If you simply must fire up the grill, keep it simple: seasoned half-beef/half-turkey burgers, baked beans and veggie skewers.
  • For dessert, serve frozen fruit pops with no added sugar.
  • If the grill is still hot, finish the day with a few fruit kabobs made with chunks of pineapple and firm stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums). The heat will bring out the fruits’ sweetness.
  • Or, if you need to indulge your sweet tooth a bit, try your hand at s’mores—everyone’s campfire favorite. (Fun tip: You can now find s’mores-making kits online and in grocery stores. Some kits include an electric roaster that you can use indoors!)

Here’s that pasta salad recipe we promised. And amounts are up to you—add as much or as little of each ingredient to suit your taste and preferences. And if you don’t see your favorite veggies, feel free to add them:

Mama Ronnie’s Chilled Pasta Salad

  • Whole-grain bowtie and penne pasta, cooked al dente and well-drained
  • Black olives, pitted and sliced
  • Scallion (green onions), thinly sliced
  • Red onion, diced
  • Roma tomatoes, diced
  • Bell pepper (red, orange, yellow, green), diced
  • Fresh cilantro, minced
  • Fresh basil leaves, cut into super-thin strips (chiffonade)
  • Optional: fresh Anaheim, poblano, jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, finely diced
  • Fresh garlic, finely minced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Hard Italian cheese—Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, Romano—freshly grated
  1. In a large bowl combine the pasta, olives, scallion, red onion, Roma tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro and basil.
  2. If you like a little heat, add the chile pepper
  3. Season with garlic
  4. If the salad won’t be served immediately, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator up to one day
  5. Before serving, set salad out for 10-20 minutes, then drizzle with olive oil
  6. Add balsamic vinegar one teaspoon at a time; toss and taste after each teaspoon
  7. Add black pepper, sprinkle with cheese
  8. Serve within one hour

Send off the summer with lots of fun, great family and fantastic food. One more tip: Keep Teladoc close by; download the app and you’ll have fingertip access to U.S. board-certified physicians 24/7 anytime, anywhere you are. Our doctors can diagnose and recommend treatments for a wide range of common summertime ailments such as sun-related conditions, insect bites and stings, skin rashes, and even stomachaches and headaches

COVID-19 REMINDER: While we’re continuing to work through the pandemic, remember that you can visit with the doctor wherever you are—at home, at work, on the road. Please continue to wear personal protection equipment and observe social distancing practices. We’re always here for you, and we’re in this together.

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