It’s finally, officially summer this weekend!! I am soo excited for what might be our last summer in Brooklyn. Biking in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Saturdays on Governor’s Island, picnics in Prospect Park, getting super cozy with our friends that have gorgeous patios (yeah, I’m talking to you!!), summer is pretty much the best time of year.
But, it also has a dark side. Between all the BBQ’s, the dinner parties, the cocktail hours, the vacations, and the lobster rolls, suddenly bikini season becomes a whole lot more stressful.
See if this rings any bells: You’re so awesome and on your game all week long. Eating those delicious green salads, drinking water, being a good little you. And then comes the weekend. You feel like you “deserve” a reward for all your being on, and you totally overdo it on burgers, and ribs, and cheese, and ice cream, and come Sunday night, you feel like a bloated, fat mess. Cue the guilt and self-criticism and drama. Cue the cravings for sugar and coffee on Monday as you come out of your food coma. Cue beating yourself up the next time you have to get in a bathing suit.
Guys, this has to stop! And we’re starting this weekend.
Memorial Day is one of those great American holidays that is typically associated with food — and not super healthy food, at that. Between all the the burgers, barbecue, potato salad, cakes, and butter-slathered corn (not to mention calorie-packed beer and drinks!), this fun-filled weekend can end up setting you back and undoing all the hard work you do for your body and health! Plus it sets a horrible precedent for the rest of the summer! Follow these five simple tips to ensure you stay on track with your eating, while still having a great time, this holiday weekend, and all summer long!
1. Plan ahead, and don’t arrive hungry!
Planning your weekend in advance gives you the best chance of getting a bird’s eye view of all the potential pitfalls you may encounter. So you have drinks with the girls on Friday (and you know you’ll rock some bar snacks), dinner with your honey on Saturday, a picnic in the park on Sunday, and a BBQ on Monday. Here’s the naked truth. You can’t go all out at ALL of your events! Really, you shouldn’t be going all out at all!
The worst possible thing you can do for yourself is show up to a Memorial Day barbecue or a picnic in the park starving because you skipped breakfast or lunch that day. You’ll make horrible food choices on an empty stomach, and end up consuming way more calories than you would otherwise. If your event starts at 3pm, plan ahead by leaving yourself time for breakfast and a healthy lunch before you get there. That way, you’ll be too full to pack away three hot dogs and your weight in margaritas, and you’ll end up enjoying a little of this and a little of that throughout the day, without the guilt.
2. Avoid the Big Bad 3 (processed meat, processed carbs, and refined sweets)
This weekend, at all your summer events, fill up on salads, fruit, grilled corn, and even munchies like chips and salsa, which will make it so much easier to avoid the real gut-busters.
Those greasy, processed hot dogs in their refined white flour buns will leave you feeling heavy and gross in no time, and they stay in your system, wreaking havoc long past the weekend.
If you’ve gotta have some grilled foods, have some grilled chicken, a veggie burger or veggie dog, and pile on the healthy toppings — tomatoes, lettuce, onions and pickles, which will make the whole affair more satisfying and filling, so you’ll be less likely to reach for seconds. Go bun-free if all that’s available is cottony, white bread buns.
And don’t leave room for dessert! If you’re full from the healthier stuff, you’ll be less likely to go for the sweets that will take you hours on the elliptical to burn off… SO not worth it! An ice cream cone here and there is totally fine, but if it becomes a twice a weekend indulgence, you’re just setting yourself up for disaster!
3. Bring some healthy foods to share!
The best way to ensure there will be plenty of healthier options to partake in at your friends’ barbecues and group picnics is to bring your own! Contribute some veggie burgers, whole grain buns, vegan coleslaw (which tastes the same, but is actually healthy), fruit salad, quinoa or garbanzo bean salads and other delicious, healthy favorites. You’ll be surprised at how grateful everyone will be to have some healthier food around!
4. Get moving!
Half the fun of holiday barbecues and picnics in the park are the activities that actually help you burn off what you’re eating. Swimming, tossing a frisbee or football are always favorites, but you can also get creative! Pick up a Slip N’ Slide for some hilarious, retro fun, or organize a game of tag, capture the flag, or horseshoes. Get people up and moving with a dance-off or limbo… anything that turns a sloth-like day of sitting around and gorging yourselves into a fun and active affair will make the event more memorable, as well as loads healthier.
If you can, bike to and from the event, which ensures you’ll be getting some great summer exercise in!
5. Sip smartly.
What you choose to drink can add up to a difference of an added 600 or 700 calories throughout the day, maybe more! Margaritas, daiquiris, and mud slides are like meals in and of themselves, and added to whatever else you may be consuming, they spell nothing but disaster. Opt for wine, light beer or simple cocktails like vodka and soda, bourbon on the rocks, or anything else without added sugar.
Gotta have that mint julep? Make it with agave instead of simple syrup! Same exact taste, but without the refined sugar. Can’t stay away from the margaritas? Make real ones with lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila.. No added sugar necessary!
Staying healthy and on your game during holidays, vacations, and special events is important, especially heading into the summer, when every weekend seems to bring some fun, routine-breaking smorgasbord. It’s the consistency that keeps us healthy… and skinny!!