Surviving Summertime with Sanity
We believe eating healthy should be a priority, but we also understand that life happens. With summer barbecues, lake parties and baseball season upon us, along with them come an abundance of sugary cocktails, stadium dogs and delicious yet questionable mystery side dishes.
Living life by the “80/20 rule” allows you the flexibility to enjoy those foods (and events) you love while staying on track towards your goals.
Prepare For Success
We all know backyard parties aren’t the ideal place for high quality foods, but that doesn’t mean your diet has to suffer all around. Put the 80/20 principle to work by focusing on whole, real foods for the meals you do have control over. Get a balanced breakfast and lunch with protein, fat and carbohydrates to keep hunger in check before heading to the party. For later parties, fill up with a snack beforehand so you’re less tempted to reach for the chips and dip or head back for seconds.
Think ahead and bring your own main or side dish to ensure there’s at least one healthy option you know will be available. Bring a veggie tray with hummus or a Greek yogurt-based dip or even a colorful salad.
Before filling up your plate with the first few dishes, take a scan of the entire table to pinpoint the best options and fill up at least half of your plate with a variety of veggies. Vegetable or bean based salads can be good choices and make a good salad topper instead of dressing if greens are available.
Fill ¼ of your plate with a hamburger, hot dog or pulled pork. Portion control is key! Ditch the bun to save yourself 150 calories of refined carbohydrates. Use your plate for guidance on sensible amounts of carbohydrates, protein and veggies.
Dehydration can come on quickly, especially if you’re out in the humid, hot sun all day. Get in at least 16oz of water when you wake up and drink an 8oz glass between each ‘adult’ beverage to stay on top of hydration.
Water-based drinks like hard sparkling water or vodka water help contribute to hydration more than beer or wine, but be sure to sneak in that extra 8oz for each! Add cucumber, lemon or lime to your vodka water for a few extra nutrients with a refreshing twist.
Keep Your Food Safe
Foodborne illness can be a major BBQ downer. Bacteria starts to grow above 41F, but oftentimes you won’t know the food is bad until it’s too late. Keep warm foods hot with warmers or aluminum foil and cold foods cold with an ice bath or cooler pack.
Put out cold salads right before serving and get them back into the fridge within 1-2 hours. This also goes for appetizers! Avoid keeping dairy-based dips out for the duration of the party.
With a little preparation and some smart choices, barbecue parties (and the rest summer has to offer) can easily fit into a healthy lifestyle. Just 15-20 minutes a day of sunshine gets you all the immune-boosting vitamin D you need to keep you happy and healthy. Instead of worrying about how your diet might suffer, use these tips to enjoy summer while it’s here!