Summer is almost here! Many families welcome this time for vacations, and relief of pressures of the school/work year.
However, watching your weight can be tricky with disruption of your regular routine. Plus, the hot sticky weather can make us feel heavy and bloated. Here are some tips to keep you feeling and looking your best for fun in the sun.
Watch the alcohol.
With summer parties and barbeques, sugary cocktails like mojitos and mai tais are everywhere, along with calorie-and carb-rich beers. If you are not careful, these can quickly pack on unwanted pounds. Also, drinking alcohol typically results in over-eating by dis-inhibiting feelings of fullness- basically, when we drink, we tend to overeat! Excess alcohol can also cause dehydration, making you feel extra fatigued from a long beach day. Instead of the sweet cocktails, take an “alcoholiday” – go for sparkling water with lemon, lime, or a slice of orange. If you must drink, choose a wine spritzer or a low-carb “lite” beer, and alternate one alcoholic drink with one glass of water.
Follow the 75/25 rule
Try to fill your plate with 75% watery vegetables like greens, and 25% protein. Eating more greens gives you extra vitamins and boosts hydration, and choosing protein over starches will help you feel less bloated and sluggish. Adequate protein is also critical to maintaining your lean body mass, and helping you recover from exercise.
Choose beverages wisely.
Try junking the juice – while it does contain antioxidants and vitamins, juices flood your body with excess sugar it doesn’t need. Eating the whole fruit is a far better choice – you get a higher fiber to sugar ratio. Also, flavored coffee drinks give us far more sugar than is good for us. Instead of the usual syrup-ey mocha frappe, try swapping your drink for an iced black coffee or flavored unsweetened tea.
Pack healthy snacks
Having fresh, healthy items in your cooler will make it far less likely that you will reach for junk. Try freezing individual yogurt cups – they’ll stay cool till you are ready to nosh. Go for sugar-free Greek yogurts for extra protein without the extra calories and carbs – a good brand is Oikos Zero. Fresh watermelon slices or a berry salad (strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry) make great sweet treats that everyone, especially kids, really love out at the beach or on the trail. Nuts also can be nutritious and filling, but they also are high-calorie. Measure out ¼ cup portions in individual baggies to be sure you don’t overdo.