August reminds me to really savor all the things I love about summer – the hot weather, long days of sunshine, and spending time with family and friends at BBQs and picnics. However, it is also a time when maintaining my healthy weight can be a struggle because I am surrounded by delicious and tempting, calorie-heavy foods that are a mainstay of this season – think ribs, burgers, potato salad, and ice-cream. To keep me on track, I developed some effective strategies that have helped me, and my clients, manage summer. If this season is a challenge for you, try some of these tips.
#1 Keep a food log
This is absolutely the best approach to staying aware of your eating habits! It is also bible based: Habakkuk 2:2. You won’t develop ‘food amnesia’ if you record everything you eat and drink each day. You won’t ‘forget’ you had 2 scoops of that rum raisin ice cream. Many of my clients are shocked when they realize how much they consume each day! That realization leads to healthy changes in food choices and quantity, especially when attending social events. Keeping a daily food log can help you plan your food intake for the day. If you have a BBQ on your schedule, you can plan for a healthy breakfast and a light snack earlier in the day so the BBQ won’t become a calorie disaster. Thanks to apps like MyFitnessPal or Lose It!, it is now easier than ever track your food and manage your weight.
#2 Have a plan
When attending social events, you may not know what’s on the menu. An easy way to stay on track is to follow the MyPlate approach: make half your plate veggies and fruit, ¼ starch, and ¼ protein. You’ll still be able to have your fried chicken and mac & cheese, but you’ll offset those calories if the rest of your plate is filled with collard greens and salad.
#3 Focus on the company, not the food
What’s on the menu should not be the first thing on your mind when attending a social event. If your head is focused on the buffet table, you’re more likely to overeat and make unhealthy choices. Instead, change your mindset to focus on your family and friends. Remembering what a blessing it is to be with them can help take the focus off the food. Read Romans 12:2 to rework your mental approach.
#4 Don’t cook
If the mere thought of cooking in the summer makes you hot, then don’t. But be careful about eating out more than occasionally because it can wreak havoc on your waistline. Instead, keep a variety of vegetables on hand for an easy, no-cook salad. Make a big batch of grilled vegetables and store away in the fridge for a quick sandwich or side dish. A colorful fruit salad prominently positioned in the fridge can help you manage your ice cream craving. Need ideas for some no-cook healthy summer recipes? Visit www.cookinglight.com.
#5 Do your homework
Craving our favorite foods is natural. For some it may be ice cream, others, French fries. Whatever your indulgence is, be aware – know what it is going to cost you in calories. Find out how many calories, fat, sodium, and sugar are contained in a single serving. If you are going to a restaurant, plan ahead and look at the nutrition facts, available for most restaurants online. Armed with this information, you can make a conscious, and hopefully healthy, choice.
#6 Be a healthy host
If you’re hosting the party, take control of the menu. Create mouth-watering dishes using seasonal fruits and vegetables, low-fat protein and healthy fats. Jazz up old recipe favorites with simple ingredient swaps. Skip the heavy appetizers and offer healthier fare like finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, and whole-grain baked tortilla chips with vegetarian-based dips such as hummus or salsa. For dessert, try colorful yogurt parfaits. Swap out soda and other sugary beverages by making your own “vitamin” water: cut up fresh fruit and submerge them in a tall pitcher of iced water. Not only will your guests enjoy the colorful display, you’ll feel good about serving healthier options.
#7 Offer to bring a dish
If you are invited to a house party or backyard BBQ, take the initiative and offer to bring either an entrée or side dish instead of dessert. Prepare something that you can incorporate into your healthy eating plan. This way, you’ll have at least one healthy option. You can then take smaller amounts of the other food selections.
#8 Don’t drink your calories
Outdoor events can become uncomfortably hot in the summer months, so remember to stay hydrated. Minimize the sugar laden iced teas and opt for water or seltzer as your go-to beverage. Add a squeeze of fresh citrus or some refreshing mint, berries, or even cucumbers for variety.
These tips can help you enjoy your summer without getting derailed. I wish you much health and happiness.
Want support creating a food plan that will help you achieve your weight loss goals? Visit my website, www.weightlosstransformation.com, or call (855) WLT-9958 (855-958-9958) for information about my:
- Weight Loss Transformation VIP Program
- Weight Loss Transformation Group Program
- Take Control Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes Programs