With Memorial Day behind us, it’s officially summertime and the long-awaited sun is finally out! For many of us, this means cookouts, barbeques and fun in the sun. For others, this means struggling with eating healthy, controlling portions and perhaps not getting enough exercise. But don’t let this year’s get-togethers get in the way of your healthy eating commitment.
A little know-how can go a long way in keeping vigilant throughout the summer and beyond. Here are my 7 favorite “summer food fixes” to help you with your diet now and down the road.
B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Dish)
B.Y.O.D., that way you know what ingredients are used and you can be comforted knowing that it’s truly a healthy dish. It’s always a good idea to keep a list of some of your favorite dishes that travel well and you feel comfortable enough cooking to whip up quickly. Additionally, your hosts and fellow party mates will be grateful for a light and healthy dish to balance out the meal.
Drink Lots of Water
Drink lots of water throughout the day. Many times when people think they are hungry, they are actually just thirsty. By drinking lots of water all day long, you'll lower the risk of overeating. Or better yet, reach for some seasonal fruit such as peaches, berries or watermelon to quench thirst and keep you hydrated all day long!
Don’t Downward Spiral
If you couldn’t stop yourself at the summer party buffet or dessert table, it’s okay. Try not to let the guilt fester and maybe add some exercise to your routine after indulging. It’s a great time for a long walk, bike ride or hike. And always remember that the next day is a new day. Don’t let it be a reason to continue indulging in unhealthy habits and forgoing your healthy lifestyle.
Follow the Plate Method
Following the so-called “plate method” helps to give some general guidance when going through the summer party buffet. Fill up half your plate with seasonal vegetables and/or fruit, a quarter of it with a starch like grain or pasta salad or a roll, and a quarter of it with lean protein such as a turkey burger, chicken breast of veggie burger.
Don’t skip breakfast!
As anyone who's tried to eat sensibly knows, starving yourself now will just have you eating much more later. To combat the urge to fill your plate over and over again, make sure to eat breakfast every morning. Choose a sensible breakfast with protein and fiber so you're not too ravenous by the time lunch or dinner rolls around. Breakfast is a great time to include some fresh seasonal fruit like blueberries, cantaloupe and watermelon too!
Add Caffeine to the Mix
Most of us have a favorite blended coffee drink concoction, and while you may be tempted to indulge in one of these refreshing beverages in the summer months, try to keep the calories to a minimum. Switching to plain iced coffee or iced tea can be just as refreshing while not adding any calories to your daily count. Plus, these ‘slimmer version’ beverages come with an added boost-- studies show if you drink these beverages regularly, you may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes!
Forgo Potato Salad
One of the most calorie-laden dishes at a cookout is often traditional potato salad due to the amount of mayonnaise and dressing! Just one cup of mayonnaise-based potato salad has 360 calories and 21 grams of fat. Instead, try some roasted vegetables with a light dressing to significantly reduce calories and fat while increasing fiber and other essential nutrients.
Swap Out Your Cocktail
Mixed cocktails often provide hundreds of calories due to the amount of liquor and sugar added to these drinks. Instead of filling up on the sugar, opt for a refreshing wine spritzer or light beer, which only have about 100 calories and no fat.
While many people struggle to continue their healthy eating habits over the summer, keep in mind it’s a great opportunity to make some healthy substitutes with the season’s best produce and initiate some healthy eating habits to continue on year ‘round and for life!
If you're looking for a steady and healthy meal plan that keeps you on track and doesn't let you fall to summer's food temptation, give Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating a shot! Our meals are fresh and delivered to your door! Learn more below!