4 Tips for July 4th Picnics, BBQs and Pool Parties

Have a happy, healthy Independence Day!

As I discussed in the article 7 Ways to Fast Track Your Weight Loss This Summer, eating healthy and staying on track with your nutrition plan during the summer months is not as easy as one might think. The increased socializing that often takes place during this time of year makes for quite a calorie challenge. Stay at the top of your nutritional game and have fun at your summer soirées with these four strategies:

1. Offer to bring either an appetizer or dessert.

I have found that most of my clients “fall off the wagon” either before or after the main course at most parties. Whether it’s the chips and dips or brownies a la mode, the beginning and end of the party seem to pack the highest calorie punch. In order to combat this, offer to bring a low-calorie appetizer and/or dessert. Low-cal appetizers include crudités and yogurt dip, melon and prosciutto, and whole-wheat pita toasts with hummus, while dessert ideas include fruit kabobs (or just a fruit salad), berries and light whipped topping and angel food cake with raspberry sauce.

2. Stick with bun-less main courses.

The best thing about summer cuisine is that foods are most often grilled or cooked with minimal added fats or sauces. It is often the side dishes or buns that get us into trouble. When choosing your main course, opt for a bun-less burger or hot dog and a salad. If there is seafood, even better! Just try to keep those refined carbohydrates (like hamburger and hot dog buns!) to a minimum.

3. Choose low-calorie cocktails.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really do love my cocktails. And if it weren't for all of the calories, I'd choose delicious frozen concoctions like margaritas, daiquiris and my all-time favorite: piña coladas! One frozen drink can run you anywhere from 300-500 calories: it’s just not worth it! There are several other high-sugar drinks to be wary of as well, including sangria and vodka with fruit juices. Your best bet is to stick with a light beer, a glass of wine, a spritzer, or better yet, a clear liquor (like vodka or gin) with club soda and a small splash of fruit juice. Also, try to limit yourself to two drinks with at least one glass of water in between the two, as too much alcohol is likely to result in poor food choices.

4. Eat before the party!

It is so tempting to ‘save your calories’ and your appetite for a big party, but trust me, showing up hungry to a food-filled event is a surefire way to fall victim to the decadent offerings that await you. Be sure to eat a good dose of protein throughout the day, and to consider a pre-party snack. Even just a handful of veggies and a string cheese as you are getting dressed could provide you with enough nourishment to fuel your healthy eating resolve. Drinking a lot of water throughout the day is also a good way to keep your appetite in check. 

If you have favorite summer nutrition tips, please share them here. We would love to hear from you and learn some of your strategies!  

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