I LOVE THE 4th of July! It feels like summer has officially begun. My whole family gets together in New Hampshire. The weekend is filled with sunshine, swimming, boating, fireworks and BBQs. It’s such a fun holiday.
There is only one delicious problem (the type we all love to have)…the food! A typical summertime picnic or BBQ menu is filled with chips, burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, cookies, ice cream, beers, wine, lemonade….the list goes on!
We’re all sweating it up and watching what we eat throughout the week, so how do we navigate a weekend without consuming 10,000 calories and having a food hangover on Monday morning?
No problem – here are some quick tips (or friendly reminders) on how to rock your holiday spirit without busting seams on your bathing suit, courtesy of a 48-hour food-free-for-all (and believe me, I’ve had plenty of Holiday weekends where I felt pretty terrible on Monday morning):
1. Let go of the “ALL or NOTHING” attitude – 100% diet or 100% everything. Uh, no. That’s not going to serve you. Your job is to stay in the middle of the road. Don’t creep along restricting yourself to the 5 mph options on the buffet (“lettuce and water for me, please) but don’t take it off road, either – even if you are inclined to lay face down on the dessert table.
a. It’s a great thing to prioritize your indulgence and be smart about it. If you’re dying for a cheeseburger, go for it! Just add a green salad and grilled veggies to the rest of your plate, and skip the potato salad and the 700 calories of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
2. Prepare by filling thy belly ahead of time.
a. The Tip? Eat ahead of time – have a super healthy snack before you go to the BBQ. Often people will “save their calories” for an event and show up starving and elbowing their way to the appetizers! You’ll reach for the first thing in sight, which could be chips and dips or cheese and crackers. Before you know it, 1,000 calories down the hatch. Once this happens, you say “Oh well, I’ll have the potato salad, hotdog and ice cream and recover tomorrow.” Er, no. Just don’t put yourself in that position. Eat a small healthy snack first, thank yourself later.
3. If you’re not hosting the party, then bring some healthy options that you really and truly love.
a. Delicious AND healthy are a great combo. Find a recipe for something that you actually will eat – a killer salad, exotic fruit, or “it’s healthy – fooled ya!” dessert that you can have two servings of without feeling piggish.
b. Get creative with your sides or make a new recipe that you’ve been dying to try. Consider making a spinach salad with strawberries, crab salad, or tomato, basil and avocado salad. There are so many amazing and easy summer salads. Here’s 2 ideas to get you started: http://www.foodiecrush.com/strawberry-and-avocado-spinach-salad-with-chicken/
c. Appetizers can be a killah too. Seriously, watch those handfuls and nibbles. The Tip? If you’re a nibbler, bring your own crazily delicious, non-guilt-inducing appetizer. If you want a fancy dip, pair it with veggies. Love shrimp? A cocktail platter will do (keep it on ice and out of the sun). Steer clear of the nuts (handfuls are deceptively high in calories), and try not to eat a lot of chips.
4. Go halfsies with the greens. You know how good you feel with salad.
a. Fill half your plate with a green salad – then add protein – grilled chicken, a grilled burger patty, even a grilled hotdog chopped up (minus the bun….yes, it works). This leaves very little room on the plate for potato chips, french fries, and all those creamy salads.
5. No green salads in sight? Check yourself before you wreck yourself by surreptitiously measuring your food with…your hand.
a. The tip? Watch the portion size by using your hand to help determine the portion size. A palm = piece of protein. Other tips about the hand abound. Don’t know how to do this? Let me know – I can help.
6. Liquid refreshments can pack calories in a 20-second swig and leave you wondering what happened with insta-gain.
a. Instead of serving lemonade and ice tea, try spritzers with pureed fruit – berries, peaches or watermelon. Or just add cucumber to water. Drop some berries into the carafe.
b. And Drink, drink, drink. Water, that is!
Stay hydrated…drink water and try to avoid overindulging in the sugary drinks and too much booze. Sorry folks (just the messenger here!), but it literally takes about an hour to walk off a beer or glass of wine. Indulge only if you are in seventh heaven over your choice…pick your calories wisely. I get it, if you love it and gotta have it, you know the tips about prioritizing.
7. Move It and Lose It. At some point, you will stop nibbling and eating.
a. When you’re done eating, get up and MOVE! Play frisbee, bocce ball, or run around with your kids…anything that gets you moving.
8. Fun times are possible without food as the focus! When you’re mapping out your summer, consciously avoid planning every single social event around food and drinks.
a. The Tip? Rent bikes, go for a hike, sailing, or kayaking. Even better? Try something new that will energize your brain and push your physical and mental limits.
Have a wonderful holiday! If you have questions or need more recipes, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy 4th of July!
To your Amazing Health,
* This information should not be seen as medical advice and is not meant to take the place of seeing a licensed health professional. You should discuss any dietary supplement use and should not discontinue any prescription medication without first consulting your doctor.