How do we celebrate a major life event? Eat and Drink.
How do we celebrate old friends coming to town? Eat and Drink.
How do we celebrate a holiday? Eat and Drink.
With the 4th of July right around the corner, many of us will be hopping from picnic to picnic to spend time with our family and friends. There will be big trays of sweets, and there will be big coolers full of alcohol.
This is a temptation-rich environment you are stepping into, but that does not mean that you can’t have a fun and healthy holiday. If you plan and use the right strategy, you can spend time with the people you love and stay on the path toward your healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips for avoiding temptation this 4th of July a healthy holiday:
- Review your progress: Whether you started your health journey a week ago or three years ago, you have made an admirable amount of progress thus far. Do not think about what you have to lose though. Yes, losing that progress would not be good, but the bigger motivation is that you have more to gain by staying true to your goals and habits of health.
- Make a plan: This is not your first 4th of July picnic. You know what temptations you are likely to face, so before you are trapped in the heat of the moment, lay out a plan for what choices you are going to make and how you are going to respond. What if someone offers you a beer? What if someone offers you a big plate of dessert? Answer these questions ahead of time!
- Designate a buddy: Help from others can make us stronger. Ask someone close to you to hold you accountable and to remind you of your goals if they see you struggling to make a healthy choice. Having an extra nudge from someone you love, and respect can make the healthy choice that much easier.
- Eat beforehand: If you walk into a buffet line hungry, you might be making your challenges even more difficult. Instead, have some healthy food before you leave so that you do not feel like you need to fill up on food to feel satisfied at the picnic.
- Drink water: It is probably going to be a hot day, which means that you are even more likely than normal to confuse thirst signals for hunger signals. Keep a big glass of water handy, and refill it throughout the day to fight off cravings and to help you feel full.
- Find the vegetables: If you are feeling overwhelmed by the food options, eat your vegetables first. Most picnics have veggie trays, so if you are not dipping your greens in salad dressing (unless it is low carb) you can snack along with your friends and family without filling up on unhealthy carbs.
Healthy Swap out Tips:
Those tempting and scrumptious BBQ delicacies are super delicious. Sadly however, they are not the healthiest options.
It is possible to enjoy the food at your get together without going overboard!
If you want to enjoy the BBQ while still being health-conscious, consider making the following adjustments.
Skip the Bun:
If you are having hamburgers, hot dogs, or any meat that is usually served on a bun and are wanting to limit your carbs, opt to go bun-free.
Instead, you can wrap the burger or dog in lettuce leaves, or just eat it plain with a knife and fork. This will eliminate a handful of simple carbs from your meal.
Beware of Sauces:
Sauces can add SO much delicious flavor, but they can also be a secret dangerous pitfall for the fitness conscious.
They may seem innocent enough, but often they hide a load of sugar, fat or both, and these calories need to be accounted for!
I suggest that you stick to one of the few low-calorie options, such as mustard, or bring a sauce from home that you approve of.
Be wary of Liquid Calories:
Alcohol and sugary drinks like soda and juice are often referred to as “empty calories.” That is because they are surprisingly calorie dense, but virtually all the calories come from sugar and do not really do your body much good.
You can avoid these empty calories by drinking water instead, but if you want something a little more exciting, a sugar-free water enhancer can be a great option! Examples- Stevia Sweetened Sodas, Lemon Water, Any Sugar-Free Flavored Water.
Do not go crazy with the sides:
If you are like me, you love those delicious BBQ sides like potato salad, baked beans, jello, and the list goes on!
It can be easy to sometimes feel like the calories in side dishes are somehow exempt from our daily total though, as if they do not count for some reason.
Sadly, they do of course, and some of those sides are super high in carbs and calories! That is why it is important to use discretion and not overdo it.
Go heavy on the veggies and side salad:
Most barbecues include a nice offering of salads and veggie dishes.
Try to avoid those that are doused in high-sugar dressings and eat your fill of the ones that are not!
Salads are also usually super low-calorie and are a great dish to fill up on!
Target high-protein food:
Take advantage of the plentiful protein sources available at your get together!
There is sure to be a mile-high pile of different meats, which can make reaching your daily protein goal a breeze.
Lean meats like chicken or fish are better, and as with salads and veggie dishes, pay attention to how the meats are cooked and what sauces they are topped with.
Enjoy your 4th of July!
Life is all about balance, and it is important to have fun and enjoy the little things, like fun holidays!
But while you are having fun in the sun, watching fireworks, and enjoying your independence this 4th of July, keep in mind the fitness goals that you have been working hard to achieve.
Own your nutrition, own your fitness, and own your day!
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