Friday, May 15, 2015

5 Tips for Healthy Summer Holiday Eating

Memorial Day, the traditional beginning of the summer season, is right around the corner and with it comes the traditional BBQ and cookout fare. How does one eat healthy at get-togethers, picnics, and fiestas without losing one's flare?

It starts at the top, no, not the Head Chef, but your brain, or maybe it starts in your heart. It starts, truly, with an attitude shift, from an "I want this, I need this, I deserve this" mentality. In my previous post I talked briefly about deciding how often to treat yourself. Success happens when you have a plan and a flexible backup plan.

What you're up against:

Hamburgers, hotdogs, brats, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans loaded with bacon, desserts galore and sugary drinks and that's just the beginning.

The plan: 

1) Come prepared with a healthy dish to share. A hearty hummus with fresh veggies or a salad packed with dark, leafy greens gets you started on tip #2 right away. You, also, set a good example to others who just might request your recipe.
 2) There are two ways to fill your plate; fill it once with everything that you want and don't go back for a refill, which requires quite a bit of self-control or fill it first with all the healthy stuff you can find, including your dish to share, giving you less room for the higher calorie and fat laden things.

3) Consider vegetable proteins over processed meats or high in saturated fat foodstuffs. This is not the time to try processed vegetarian meat alternatives, but dishes loaded with beans, lentils, broccoli and spinach. Diversify your flavor palette by being a little adventurous. 

4) Don't drink your calories. My year round fave drink is unsweetened iced tea. There is something magical about a tumbler full of clinking ice and strong brewed tea, with a bit of lemon, on a super hot day. Having one go-to drink, that won't derail your whole day in one fell swoop, is preferable to the sugary, high calorie options that somehow find their way to our mouths.

5) Have dessert! Case the joint to decide what your mouth is watering the most for, then, indulge. Keeping portion control in mind, of course! 

The flexible back-up plan?

1) Eat before you go or show up toward the end of the meal and simply enjoy the company.

2) Pack a few healthy snacks to munch on if you are just not feeling harmonious with the hamburgers.

3) Forgive yourself! Its fine to screw up once in awhile so long as you get right back on plan. 

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