Summer: The Warmer Version of the Winter Holiday Season
Sun is out. Temperature is 70°+. In my book, it’s summer. And summer= barbeques, parties, vacations, food, drinks, andddd more food and drinks. In my opinion, summer is the best season of all, but it’s also a tricky time of year as we are constantly around food, drinks and sweet treats. #tempting. So how do we stay on track during the summer? And if we do have that occasional treat, how do we 1) avoid feeling guilty for it and 2) prevent it from causing a breakdown and consuming ALL the treats?
First off, did you know that having an occasional treat is not going to set you back or cause you to gain weight? And you don’t need to overcompensate the following day to “undo” what you ate? During my time working with Jenna, I’ve learned that it’s important to always be real. So guess what? I used to struggle with this too! I felt that if I ate something “bad” (who even determines what is good and what is bad?! --> But first, a fact: food does not make us good or bad), I was going to have to exercise for over an hour to prevent weight gain. I felt guilty and regretted eating whatever it was that I had. And thankfully a realization came- life cannot be about deprivation and food does not define who we are. It does not make us weak. It does not make us a failure. Life is supposed to be enjoyed and if you want that sweet treat occasionally, I vote go for it! Because healthy is a lifestyle. Healthy means balance and moderation. I found that when I deprived myself of that one cookie, I didn’t just end up eating one cookie, I ate three or four.
So- I find that focusing on nutrient-dense foods most of the time with an occasional treat works best for me. When we have something we don’t usually eat, let’s just focus on the portion sizes! This will satisfy that craving without making you feel overly full and regretful #winwin. My final comment on this: have that treat and then focus (without anxiety or guilt) on your next meal being nutrient-dense. Balance.
But, wait. What if you simply don’t want that treat or the meal at the party you’re going to? No problem. We plan ahead! We can either offer to bring something to the party (A.K.A. whatever you want to eat) or we can eat before/after going! If someone questions why you aren’t eating (which happens to me 99% of the time), I simply and nicely will explain that I already ate or… I’ll make up an excuse because… who knows anyway? HOWEVER, do not feel like you need to make up an excuse, you’re not hiding anything! You can explain that you feel most comfortable eating specific foods because they make you feel best- that is not a lie, nor is it an excuse. You have complete power to say no; always do what makes you feel your best.
Ok now let’s talk about the actual meal part. Summer is a great time to get creative and make your own recipes, as produce is fresh and definitely less expensive than the wintertime. Here are some tips:
1. Chop vegetables into large chunks and throw on the grill; grill on skewers or in a grill basket!
2. Who say’s beef burgers are the only grill-friendly meat? Try ground bison, ground turkey, fish and seafood, such as shrimp!
3. Opt for a whole-grain bun or go bun-less and use lettuce wraps for your burger!
4. Looking for a healthy dessert? Grill up some fruit. (Hint: grilled pineapple is gooood)
5. Skip the store-bought potato and macaroni salads and make your own! Try a cold bean or Banza pasta salad.
Lastly, summer is a great time to be active and I hope you take advantage. The days are longer and the weather is warmer. After dinner, take a walk to help with digestion and get some extra steps in for the day. Take your dog for a hike or take a bike ride with your kids; just get moving.
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Ok, enough for now. If you post pictures of your creative summer-inspired recipes or your sweet treats, tag us, we want to see your balance and healthy lifestyle! Get active. Eat well. & Treat yo’self!