Sunny. Blue sky. Longer days. It must be getting close to summer here in Minnesota. We never know if a mid-June snow storm will interrupt those plans, BUT one thing is for sure, patio season has arrived.
The vitamin D is fantastic for our health and mood, however, when spring and summer roll around we often find ourselves with invites to more weekday happy hours and weekend get-togethers. The summer holidays bring barbeques and outdoor ball games bring hotdogs, beers and my all-time favorite, soft pretzels. One thing many of us struggle with is how to balance having a social life, especially during the resurgence of quality weather, with sticking to a healthy life-style.
It is likely unrealistic to eat a 100% clean diet 100% of the time and never leave your house to enjoy an outing with friends and family. Will this approach grant you a lean body and a six-pack of abs? Maybe! I say maybe because no matter how hard we try or how strict we are some of us will never have abs – trust me I know. However, I challenge you to ask yourself if this sacrifice worth the potential outcome. For some, the answer may be yes. Maybe you have goals to be an elite level athlete or a fitness competitor of some sort and this sacrifice is necessary to that process and worth it to you, that is absolutely okay. I would hazard that most of us do not fall into the above category or if we do, it may be temporarily. Chances are most of us are in the process of obtaining or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If that is you then the moderation really is the answer.
YES, you can attend social functions and enjoy family and friend get-togethers at any stage of your healthy lifestyle process. I am including a few tips below to help maximize your social enjoyment while minimizing your nutrition anxiety when the inevitable situations arise.
- If you have a big night out planned front-load your protein intake for the day – we tend to intake more carbohydrate and fat heavy foods when we go out so including protein with your earlier meals will keep you satisfied and ensure you are more balanced at the end of the day
- If you have a brunch or a mid-afternoon party maybe elect for two meals versus three hat day since you’ll likely intake more than normal
- Show up to a gathering having eaten a small (protein heavy) meal close to arriving. You will feel more full and less likely to pick at foods you may not even really want
- Have a glass of water for each drink you enjoy
- Instead of having a full drink try adding a calorie free pairing – you can make a white glass of wine more refreshing and less calorie dense by splitting it with seltzer water – la croix is all the rage these days
- Check out the menu before you arrive at a restaurant so you can come up with a plan. You can always ask for things to be prepared without oils and butters, dressing on the side, etc.
- Bring your own healthy dish to a party or barbeque so you know you will have a choice you can enjoy without stress
- Select a lean meat or fish to pair with an indulgence or pair an indulgent burger with greens
- Stash a protein bar and or beef jerky in your bag – this can be a great relief if your hunger creeps in and is a convenient choice
Enjoy your life but remember moderation really is key. One indulgent meal or a fun night out will not sabotage your healthy lifestyle or progress and no food is a bad food. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest.
If you want to know more about how you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and enjoy your life email me! firstname.lastname@example.org