Everyone loves The Fourth of July! It's the time for beaches, barbecues, friends, and parties! For many of us, that means burgers, hot dogs, chips, cocktails, and lots of diet disaster. But it doesn’t have to be. Make this holiday a happy and healthy one!
Many people either avoid holiday situations for fear of overeating, or simply eat everything with the promise to go back to their healthy habits the next day. I suggest focusing on spending quality time with friends and family and making healthy food choices as well.
Today, many hosts are very accommodating. They tend to have several options to choose from aside from the typical barbecue fare, so it's easier to make healthy choices. If you, like me, have dietary restrictions, think about bringing your own dish along so you know you have something to eat.
For the rest, here are some simple strategies for staying healthy at your upcoming festivities.
1. Eat a healthy snack before you go
Don't arrive hungry. Having a healthy snack that combines fiber, healthy fat, and protein, will help keep your hunger at bay so you don’t arrive at your party famished and ready to eat everything. Some good choices are low fat greek yogurt with berries, hummus with carrot and celery sticks, or an apple with almond butter.
2. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day and have a glass or two 15 minutes prior to eating. We often reach for food when we are really just thirsty.
3. 50/25/25 plate
Fill half your plate with veggies. Choose salad, crudite, and grilled veggies. BBQ veggies taste delicious and veggies are a great way to fill up without filling out. They are loaded with fiber and low in calories. Fill 25% of your plate with protein, and 25% with your favorite treats. If you are still hungry, eat more veggies!
4. Choose a turkey, portobello, or veggie burger
Instead of red meat which is higher in saturated fat and cholesterol, opt for a turkey, portobello, or veggie burger. Top with your favorites like onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado and you’ve got a super healthy meal.
5. Skip the bun
Wrap your burger in lettuce wraps instead of a bun, or top your salad with a burger. If you must have the bun, remove the top half. Trust me, you won't miss it. And skip the refined white types. Instead, opt for 100% whole grain or sprouted brands. (Like Food For Life)
6. Enjoy a mock-tail
Have a mock-tail of sparkling water with a splash of cranberry and fresh lime. It feels festive and dresses up like your favorite cocktail.
Enjoy fruit salad. Choose fresh berries, watermelon, kiwi, and mango. It's delicious, refreshing, sweet, and satisfying! Top with dark chocolate drizzle, coconut flakes, or cacao nibs for that little something extra! All fruit frozen popsicles are a favorite for kids and adults too!
8. Friends and Family
The focus tends to be around the food these holidays, but don't forget about quality time with friends and family. The nourishment we receive from love and laughter can not be replaced by burgers and chips. So don't forget to enjoy the company you are with.
Now, I'd like to hear from you. What are some of your favorite ways to stay healthy during the holidays?
Wishing you a safe, healthy, and happy Fourth of July!