If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’re rapidly approaching the start to a long weekend of well-deserved Independence Day recreation and festivities. So, this week I’ll be brief and leave you with some picnic and party tactics that can help you enjoy your break without completely falling off the proverbial wagon from a nutrition standpoint.
1. Don’t “save” your calories for that 6pm picnic or pool party. You’re only setting yourself up for making less healthy food choices and for over-consumption. Bloating and indigestion does not a fun party make. By eating regularly-spaced small meals and snacks pre-party, you’ll be way less likely to position yourself permanently behind the triple cheese spinach artichoke dip. After all, you didn’t come JUST for the food (or did you?).
2. Do eat “clean” pre-party. Eating clean (lots and lots of dark green and bright veggies, high-quality protein, a bit of healthy fats) beforehand will have you energized for the fun ahead, and will give you some license to enjoy your favorite treats.
3. Do be strategic about your treat choices. Take the time to do a quick loop around the spread so that you can decide what your “must have” treats will be. This way, you’re not regretting eating that bacon-cheeseburger slider when you spot the double-fudge chocolate chunk brownie later down the line.
4. Do stock up on the nutrient-dense / calorie-poor options. Take note of the healthier bounty that summer parties can offer—fresh veggies and fruits, guacamole, hummus, lean meats, whole grain salads.
5. Do savor the flavor. We’ll all be eating some treats that (ideally) are not a part of our everyday foods. So make it worth every single delicious calorie. Take the time to actually taste it. Chew it slowly. Enjoy it! Don’t mindlessly scarf down that strawberry pie and ice cream while Great Aunt Tessie catches you up on all the gossip about family members you have never heard of.
6. If you will be drinking adult beverage(s), Do make an effort to also drink water. I enjoy a refreshing summer ale or glass of wine myself, and a good margarita can’t be beat. But remember that alcohol is dehydrating and nutrient depleting. Nutrients are required for metabolizing alcohol. The emotion-stabilizing B vitamin family is especially vulnerable to alcohol—hmmm…that could explain some extraordinary displays I’ve witnessed at various adult-based gatherings over the years. Vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, and chromium may also be susceptible to alcohol, along with your energy and outlook on the next day.
7. Don’t beat yourself up if you do “blow” it. Not that I’m giving permission to blow it, but if you’re anything like me, you tend to be quite hard on yourself afterward. If things do get a bit out of control—ie, you have 3 brownies, half a vat of cheese dip, and 4 margaritas, don’t wallow in self-pity for days on end. Move on. That was yesterday. Live in the present. Today is a day to start afresh.
8. Do put on your favorite summer anthem and dance! It’s not only fun, but you might burn off a few bites of that key lime pie or chocolate martini that you thoroughly savored.
Up next: Are you SUPping to shed some lb’s? Stay tuned as we’ll be offering some considerations and tactics for balancing adequate nutrition with weight loss goals.Until then: Enjoy your HOLIDAY! And here are two of my at-the-moment-favorite-somewhat-cheesy-summer anthems. Unapologetically mainstream chick songs! The first has just enough nod to 70’s R&B funk. The second has just enough cowbell and disco groove to get you doing your best Saturday Night Fever impression.
What are some of your favorite summer-time dance grooves? Please share.