5 Tips For Summer Eating
We are so used to hearing that winter is the season we are less active, indulge in "comfort food" and pack on the pounds. While that may be true, I find summertime to be one of the most challenging few months for many of my clients. It's the glorious time of year filled with longer days, warmer temperatures and the extra time to socialize. All good things of course! The only problem is that summer socializing tends to include drinking a lot of extra alcohol and attending many BBQ’s where unplanned for calories sneak into the picture (think chips and dip, sugary mixed drinks and your best friends homemade brownies you just had to try). Summer happens to be my favorite time of year so I am going to give you my top 5 strategies for enjoying this time while still maintaining your fabulous figure and healthy eating goals.
Have a plan. My clients know they are not allowed to "wing it." Ever. When you walk into a party, a restaurant or a BBQ have some sort of idea what food will be available to you and decide what you will eat and drink before hand. If you really have no way of knowing what is being served I tell clients to practice the "Plate Method." Fill half the plate with veggies, 1/4 lean protein, 1/2 starch. Munch on low calorie/healthy veggies and shrimp cocktail if you are lucky to have them as options.
Set an Alcohol Limit BEFORE. Alcohol is full of empty calories and my clients know I don't believe in drinking your calories. If you are choosing to enjoy an alcoholic beverage come up with the number of drink(s) you will have before event and stick to it. I always tell clients to drink a non-alcoholic beverage first like sparkling water. Take the time to sip it slowly while getting used to the crowd and peruse the food options. Too often we rush into an alcoholic beverage, use it as a social elixir and before you know it you are 3 drinks in and half the dip is gone and you didn't even really slow down and taste it and see if you liked it. My personal favorite thing to do especially over the summer is to make a nice glass of white wine last longer by making it into 2 wine spritzers.
Bring a healthy dish. I never worry when I go to a BBQ because I always offer to make a giant yummy salad. It’s always a crowd pleaser and if all else fails top your salad with a protein your host is grilling up and you are set. Don't rely on others to worry about your healthy eating goals. It is your job not theirs. So if eating well is a priority it's up to you to make it happen. Your host doesn't have to deal with how you feel the next day after eating poorly. Only you do.
Enjoy 3 Bites of Dessert. If you have a sweet tooth like I do having dessert is important to you. I suggest you survey your options, check out all the possibilities and decide what you will indulge in mindfully. I try to preach the mentality if you are going to eat something high in calories make sure you love it. Don't waste your time (or calories) on a dessert that doesn't excite you. For example, last week my friend served carrot cake at her birthday party. It happens to be my favorite dessert. So I practiced the 3-bite rule. I was able to enjoy it and really taste it without overdoing it. I woke up the next morning feeling great and not bloated or tired which is probably what would have happened if I downed 2 pieces. Try this at your next BBQ. If there's something that entices you have 3 bites and see how empowering it feels to know you had your dessert without overdoing it and dealing with the consequences.
Don't Save Your Calories: This will always backfire. If you are going to a BBQ at 3pm PLEASE eat your normally scheduled lunch and possibly your afternoon snack. Rookie mistake is walking into a party hungry. It will always lead to overeating. Also drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is not good for your inhibitions let alone your social standing. So please have a proper meal before the party and a fruit or light snack before to ensure your judgment will be working for your waistline not against it.
Bonus TIP: Tomorrow is a new day! Like my good friend will say, we are all "perfectly imperfect." If you wake up and aren't happy with your previous day of food choices get back on track right away. If you feel like you keep waking up most days feeling that way it may be a good time to talk to a nutrition professional like me to help get you come up with a realistic plan and find the tools you need to keep your priorities in place. Feeling healthy and good about yourself may be harder during certain months but important every day of the year.