Healthy Living Blog

Safe Fun in the Summer Sun!

Tina Miller, MS RDN Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,

Summer is the season to take advantage of the great outdoors!  As we enjoy spending time in the warmth and sunshine, we also need to make sure we’re ready to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Here are summer skincare tips to help you prepare for some fun in the sun.

Foods For Sun Protection

Vitamin A Rich Foods (Beta-carotene, lycopene rich foods): Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Watermelon (deep orange, red and yellow vegetables and fruit).

Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables: Especially strawberries, kiwis, oranges, red bell peppers and dark leafy greens.

Omega-3 rich foods:  Salmon, tuna, lake trout, walnuts and flaxseed

Vitamin E rich foods: Almonds, avocados and olive oil

Green Tea: Contains photo-protective agents (catechins known as EGCG) that can reduce harmful effects of UV rays.

Sunscreen Selection

UV radiation from the sun damages our skin’s structure year-round, but it’s even stronger during the summer months. This is why it is extremely important to make sure we’re protecting our skin correctly. Here are some tips to help you find the best sunscreen for you:

  • Your level of SPF should increase the longer you’re exposed to the sun. If you have fair skin, use a sunscreen with a 30 SPF level. If your skin tone is darker use a minimum of SPF 8-14.
  • Look for SPF products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays or a Broad Spectrum SPF.
  • Always consider any skin allergies or cosmetic concerns you may have.
  • Make sure you also get sunscreen for you face and lips. Facial skin tends to be more sensitive than the skin on your arms and legs.
  • If you’re swimming or playing sports and expect perspiration, opt for a water resistant sunscreen.

Medications and Sun Sensitivity: Some over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen and prescription medications such as Lipitor (cholesterol lowering) or glyburide (anti-diabetic) increase your sensitivity to the sun.  For more information on medications and sun sensitivity see:

Sunscreen Application

Sunscreen should also be applied more than once throughout your sun exposure time.

  • Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you go outside. This helps to make sure the SPF has started working prior to sun exposure.
  • Don’t forget to cover every part of your body that could be exposed to the sun, including your face, lips, ears, eyes, nose, and neck.
  • Reapply the same amount of sunscreen every two hours. If you are swimming or playing sports and sweating, reapply as soon as you can.

Sunburn Relief

If you end up with sunburn, there are still many things you can do for relief.

  • Use a cool compress or take a cool bath during the first 24 hours after sunburn.
  • For minor sunburns that do not result in blistering, use skin protectants lotions (after-sun, coco-butter) and aloe.
  • Sunburns that cause itchiness can be relieved with oral antihistamines. If your sunburn causes pain, try ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If you have any questions, consult with your Meijer pharmacist.
  • Always seek immediate medical attention if your sunburn is severe with blistering, fever, confusion, weakness, or seizures.

Sun-Safe Recipes

Blueberry Watermelon and Walnut Salad


  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 2 cups watermelon, seedless, cubed
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh
  • 1 cup California walnuts, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, yellow, large, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 6 cups baby greens, mixed
  • 4 chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each), skinless, boneless, grilled or sautéed until cooked through


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and spread walnuts in one layer on baking sheet. Bake until just toasted and aromatic, about 8 minutes; remove and let cool.
  2. To prepare vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, oil, honey, salt and pepper.
  3. For the salad, in a medium bowl, combine watermelon, blueberries, walnuts and bell pepper; add half of the vinaigrette; toss to coat. In a large bowl, toss greens with remaining vinaigrette. Divide greens among 4 plates; top with fruit and walnut mixture. Slice each chicken breast diagonally and serve with the salad.

Recipe source:

Walnut Crusted Grilled Salmon 


  • 1 1/2 cups California walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons lemon rind, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 3-ounce salmon fillets, skin on
  • Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. Place walnuts in food processor; coarsely chop. Add breadcrumbs, lemon rind, olive oil and dill; pulse until crumbly. Mixture should stick together. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Arrange salmon fillets skin side down on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Brush tops with mustard.
  3. Spoon 1/3 cup of walnut crumb mixture over each fillet; gently press the crumb mixture into the surface of the fish. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
  4. Bake at 350°F 15 to 20 minutes, or until salmon flakes with a fork. Just before serving, sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Recipe source: