Summer’s here, and it’s time for beach picnics, backyard barbecues, and pool parties. These are loads of fun, but you’ll be tempted to stray from your diet when you’re confronted by summer classics from burgers and beer to pasta and potato salads.
In addition, if you’re traveling or entertaining out-of-town guests, you’re likely to be eating out a lot. That’s another diet trap, because the average meal at a chain restaurant has a stunning 1,128 calories and is swimming in fattening carbs.
If you aren’t careful, you’ll give in to summer’s temptations and pack pounds on your belly… just when you want to be showing it off in crop tops and swimsuits. How can you avoid this scenario? Follow these six tips for having a blast this summer without adding an inch to your waistline.
Plan and Prep
I like to say, “Eat, think, and be merry.” In this case, a little thinking ahead of time can save you from extra pounds later on.
Are you entertaining out-of-town visitors this summer, or taking a summer road trip yourself? Then do your research ahead of time. When you’re eating out, review restaurant menus online and pick a restaurant that offers healthy options. Figure out what you’ll order before you go—and then, when you get to the restaurant, don’t even open the menu. Instead, sip on a glass of sparkling water or tea while your dining companions make their decisions.
BYOF (Bring Your Own Food)
Bringing your own food to a summer get-together isn’t always possible, but hosts typically appreciate contributions. (Who doesn’t like extra food at a party?)
Some of my faves to bring to barbecues or pool parties include my Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, my tapenade with crudites, and my Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette. In addition, I frequently offer to whip up some of my bone broth cocktails, which are always a huge hit!
Eat Before You Go
Swimming, beach volleyball, and other summertime activities can cause you to work up a big appetite. To make sure you don’t pig out at a get-together, eat a small but filling meal before you leave home. Include some protein, a little healthy fat, and a generous serving of leafy veggies. This mini-meal will fill you up, stave off cravings, and give you the burst of energy you need for all that fun in the sun.
Tell your family and friends about your new eating habits so they won’t wonder why you’re not gulping beer, noshing on hot dogs, or diving face-first into the chips and dip. They might tease you a little at first—but when they realize that it’s important to you, they’ll probably also encourage you. In fact, they may even start thinking about improving their own diets!
Be Firm—and Offer a Pitch
Frequently, people won’t even notice when you change your habits—and if they do, they typically won’t care. If some people do give you a hard time, simply look them in the eye and say firmly but politely, “It’s important to me that I eat this way. I’m sure you understand my desire to be as healthy as possible.”
If you’re with friends or family members who want to know more or seem open to learning, give them what I call my dinner party pitch—or, in this case, my pool party pitch! Here it is:
“I love being healthy, feeling energized, and looking my best. Eating real, unprocessed foods gets me there. The concept is simple, really. It’s all about eating foods that my body metabolizes and digests best, so naturally I function better.
“This lifestyle is easier than you think. I’ve adapted nearly every dish I love in order to make it healthier—and my versions taste just as fantastic.
“For me, it’s a no-brainer. I love the food, I look better, and I don’t feel sluggish or need to battle health problems.”
Eat When You Get Home
Congratulations! You did it! You went to a pool party, a backyard barbecue, or a beach picnic, and you resisted temptation.
Now, back at home, you’re feeling proud, but also a little hungry. This is the time to celebrate with a delicious, healthy snack. Afterward, put on your jammies and snuggle in for a restful sleep, knowing that come morning, you won’t have a food hangover—and you’ll still look awesome in that sexy swimsuit. Sweet dreams!
Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!