Healthy Eating Tips for the Summer Season

Summer is upon us. It’s been long chilly winter and now is the time let loose and feel free. After being cooped up we want to get outside and enjoy all that summer has to offer.

Warm temperatures, green trees and longer days. Shorts, t-shirts, tank tops and bathing suits. It's also wedding season, travel season and a season full of pool parties and barbecues. Who doesn't have almost every summer weekend booked with one of the latter? And what comes with all those occasions? Food! Lots of delicious tantalizing goodies.

Food has such a polarizing effect: It’s good and evil. It’s delightful and stressful. You want to enjoy yourself but you don’t want to overeat.  Food creates agonizing dilemmas.

Try not to agonize over every single food choice; there are strategies you can employ in order to strengthen your willpower and combat the temptation to overindulge.

Here are some tips for all the fabulous parties you have planned:

  • Instead of saving your appetite, have a healthy snack before you go. If you arrive at a party hungry you are more likely to make a b-line for your most favorite calorie laden foods. Eat an apple or a granola bar chock full of filling goodness.

  • Think to yourself: I like my current body weight better than I like that (insert food temptation).

  • Find your favorite person to chat with. Who’s your friend with the best stories or gossip? Occupy your mind with great convo.

  • Think ahead about the menu. Yes, you may not know exactly what will be served, but we all know what the typical wedding and BBQ foods are. Arrive with a plan and stick to it.

  • Keep breath mints in your bag. You might deter yourself from eating if your mouth feels fresh and clean.

  • If you feel there is no way you won’t overdo it, schedule more exercise into your week/month. With warmer weather, this is a cinch: Go for an extra walk, take a bike ride with the kids or add one more day to your regular gym schedule.

And, specifically for the alcoholic calories:

  • Ask for a drink you don’t like that much – you’ll drink it much slower!

  • Employ the every other rule: One beer, one water, one beer, one water.

  • Avoid the super sugary mixed drinks like the daiquiris and the coladas.

How About For That Road Trip Planned?

Road trips are tough. You literally have to eat, “on the go.” You are also sitting for very long periods of time with zero activity.

But, with good planning you can eliminate unhealthy eating.

Find a good sized cooler and stock up. Here are some items you can pack:

  • Air-popped popcorn

  • Dried fruit

  • Nuts

  • Low-fat string cheese

  • Hard-boiled eggs

  • Edamame or dried chickpeas

  • Whole-grain crackers with peanut butter

When it’s time for more than snacks and a much need break from sitting in the car, spot the nearest grocery store instead of the nearest fast food joint. Grab lean meats, whole-grain bread, fruit, and bottles of water or unsweetened iced tea. Then find a nice park to set up a picnic.

Road trips are not known for their exciting good times; avoid bored eating.  Engage your mind with activity as a way to distract yourself from sticking your hand in the snack bag:

  • Pop in a fun-to-listen to book on CD (or download Audible on your smartphone).

  • Pack a few decks of trivia cards.

  • Play a classic road trip game such as, 21 questions or the category game, last letter, first letter.

  • Take a nap (not the driver, of course).

  • If your trip is extra-long, plan on stopping in a fun small-town museum. When you’re back in the car you can chat, joke and laugh about the world’s largest cow sculpture you just saw.

In summary, the best way to dodge temptations is to plan ahead. Be proactive. It’s a simple yet not so easy effort. But, with a little strategy, you can do it!