Seasons and celebrations always seem to have a relationship with food. With summer being the most popular season for BBQs, picnics, weddings, graduations and, of course, travel vacations, there are plenty of opportunities to make poor food choices and overeat.
Here are some tips to enjoy your summer while maintaining a healthy weight.
Focus on Portion Sizes and Quality Foods
One of the main things to focus on is the amount of food you eat while attending events and parties. Too often we use these times as an opportunity to overindulge. To avoid this, eat smaller meals more often throughout the day of the event. This will help you to control your hunger so that you can better maintain your portions. If your event has a buffet, choose a small plate instead of a large one. We tend to feel the need to fill our plate as full as we can, especially when there are a lot of offerings.
Selection of foods is also key. You will want to limit or avoid chips, dips, creams, sauces, fried foods, processed meats and even salads with excess dressing. Lean, fresh meats and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are generally the smartest choices. Realistically, this can be difficult, especially at parties and receptions. If the temptation of less nutritional morsels is too much to resist, use an 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of your selections should be from the more nutritional and healthy foods. Use the remaining 20% to indulge yourself a bit. This will at least keep you mostly on track.
It's also important to drink plenty of water. With hotter weather and humidity, water is a necessity regardless of activity level. Drinking water can also help create a sense of satiety which can help prevent you from overeating.
Often alcoholic beverages are part of our celebrations. All alcoholic beverages contain empty calories, which are calories without any nutritional value. In other words, they just count against your daily calorie count without providing anything in return. The amount of calories in a single 12 oz. beverage can range from 90 to 700 calories. Beverages containing alcohol are also diuretics and can lead to dehydration. Not to mention that alcohol impairs our ability to drive a car safely and our judgement overall. Many times the effect of alcohol reduces our ability to control what and how much we eat.
Ultimately, the key to maintaining your nutritional health for the summer is to focus on moderation with foods and drinks and do your best not to overindulge. There's nothing wrong with enjoying those tempting summer fares; just don't let it control you. And if you do go a bit overboard, shake it off and just start fresh the next day. Don't let one day of indulgence take you off course with maintaining healthy weight and nutrition.