6 Tips to Survive Summer Parties and Picnics (without gaining weight)
Cue the warm weather, potluck picnics with friends, grilled burgers, potato salads, homemade desserts, cold beverages....screeeeetch! Wait a minute! How in the world did I gain 10 pounds in just a few weeks?
I am sad to say it's very easy! Summer is a landmine full of summer picnics, graduations parties, vacations and holiday festivities! Between the potluck menus and the adult beverages, it's bound to leave a sizable mark on your waistline. So what can we do? Try out these 6 practical tips to help you navigate through your summer picnics without gaining an extra 10 pounds!
Offer to Bring Something
There is nothing worse than arriving at a potluck picnic and realizing there is not a single healthy option available. What begins with eating one chip, quickly escalates to half of the bowl. Offer to bring a couple of healthy food options. Don't be afraid to ask if you can bring some turkey or veggie burgers as well. I always bring extra because other people usually would like to have healthy options too - there are never any leftovers. Try to fill up on the healthy food you bring so you won't be tempted to overindulge on the high calorie foods. (check out our healthy salads or some appetizer options)
Eat During the Day BEFORE You Go
I know this may sound like a bad idea, but it's really one of the most helpful tips. Most people tend to starve themselves all day, knowing they will be eating and drinking that evening... but arriving at a potluck picnic when you are famished is a recipe for disaster! When we are hungry, we make really bad food choices and we tend to over eat!
During the day eat healthy foods with complex carbs, healthy fats and lots of protein. This will keep you feeling full longer with healthy foods, so that you won't be tempted to go crazy with the food at the party. The second reason to eat before you go is that it is never a good idea to drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Do not underestimate the amount of bad food choices you can make when alcohol is involved. If you haven't eaten all day, any alcohol you drink is going to move pretty fast through your system and all of your self control will be lost. Remember, eat healthy food before you go!
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
That last point leads me directly into this one. Alcohol has a lot of calories and it is usually paired with high sugar mixers such as simple syrup and high calorie juices. I always tell my ladies at the gym, there is a reason that they call it a "beer belly." Alcohol is a huge contributor to weight gain during the summer season.
What's the best way to survive the alcohol trap at summer parties and picnics? Here are some practical tips:
- One good option is to take all the ingredients for a low calorie cocktail to share with your friends - they will appreciate having a skinny option as well. (Try our Pear Berry Fizz Cocktail)
- Vodka, tequila, gin, rum and whiskey all have 96 calories per 1.5 ounces. Try mixing these with low sugar options, like a seltzer water with lime.
- Fit Vine makes wine that has less sugar, calories, carbs and sulfates than other wines. A 5 ounce glass is less than 100 calories!
- Remember seltzers, diet sodas, crystal light, and fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice are all good low calorie options to use as mixers in drinks.
- Here are some recipes for mixed drink options all under 150 calories.
Most importantly, drink lots of water! I can't emphasize enough the importance of drinking lots of water while you are at your summer picnics, especially with the warm weather, which dehydrates you quickly. By the time your brain gets the signal that you need to drink, your body is already in need of water, and sometimes we feel hungry when we are really thirsty. Alcohol also acts as a diuretic, which causes dehydration and that wonderful hangover the next morning. Web Md suggests drinking at least 8 ounces of water for every beverage containing alcohol
Don't Derail Your Fitness Routine
The summer schedule can get crazy! With vacations, driving the kids to summer camps, and weather too hot to workout outside, we tend to drop exercise from our to-do list. Make sure you carve out time to keep exercising, Not only will it help you burn calories and boost your metabolism, it will help you feel better mentally as well. Make a commitment to yourself to continue exercising through the summer! (Here are some great band workouts to take on your travels so you can keep up with your fitness routine while you're vacationing)
Make Good Choices Throughout the Week
Eating healthy Monday through Friday will help keep you on track! On the other hand, if you are making bad food choices during the week, you are really going to be in trouble once the weekend rolls around and you have a weekend packed with summer parties and picnics. Try to control what you CAN control...which means, during the week keep your house stocked with healthy food and get rid of the sugary temptations that can destroy your weight loss gains. Remember that you will eat what is in your house, so keep it stocked full of good stuff!
The summer season is short (especially for those of us in the northern part of the US), but a lot of damage can be done in that short time! Try using these six tips to help you survive the summer picnic season without derailing your weight loss or maintenance! Enjoy summer...and stay healthy at the same time!