Summer is finally here, which typically means outdoor
celebrations and get-togethers to bask in the glory of longer days
and warmer weather. Unfortunately, this can often mean a stumbling
block to your plans for healthy eating.
Summer picnics and potlucks are often full of foods like fried
chicken, hotdogs and hamburgers, and potato salad--
foods that may be delicious but maybe aren't the healthiest
choice. As a vegetarian, barbeques often only have unhealthy,
creamy sides and desserts that fit my dietary restrictions. But it
becomes difficult to be mindful of what you're eating, especially
if you're busy catching up with old friends (or meeting new ones).
Plus, nobody wants to be the one who looks like they aren't eating
what other people brought!
Luckily, there are some things you can do to help keep your
healthy lifestyle on course and still enjoy these fun occasions
with your friends and family. There are plenty of good-for-you
options that taste good too. It just takes a little bit more
Choosing healthy foods at a summer potluck or picnic doesn't
have to be the bummer you think it will be. Here are a few steps to
take before you arrive to the celebration to curb your unhealthy
- Don't arrive hungry. Drink a few classes of
water and snack on some fruit ahead of time. If you're not starving
when you arrive, you'll be less likely to overeat.
- Bring a healthy dish of your own. That way,
you'll know that there will be at least one good-for-you thing that
you can eat without worry. Here are
- If you're hosting the event, encourage your
guests to bring healthy foods too.
But the fun part (besides the silly yard-games and being
outside!) is actually eating! When it's time to fill your plate
from the buffet table, take a mental survey of all the options
before just blindly going through the line. This will help you plan
your plate better.
Here are some more tips:
- Fill at least half of your plate with the foods that look like
they are the healthiest--like fruits and vegetables.
- Limit foods that have lots of cheese or cream--these are the
most likely to be loaded with calories and fat.
When choosing a drink, go for lighter options (light beers or
100 percent fruit juice) and alternate with water so you aren't
drinking calories just to stay hydrated in the heat.
- Don't totally restrict yourself. Take a small bite to satisfy
your craving. If there's something you just can't turn down--like
that peach pie--have a small slice or offer to share with
- Remember that summer get-togethers are about just that--getting
together! Moving around and talking to people will help you to
stay active and make it less likely that you will eat too much.
If there are fun yard games or other things to occupy your
hands--try those! Croquet and badminton are my personal
- After the event, if you feel like you made poor choices or that
you ate too much, think about what you can do differently next
time. You've got the whole summer to perfect your picnic!
With these tips in hand, go out and enjoy those summer
celebrations without fear of spoiling your healthy-eating
Blubaugh contributed to this post.