Summer and Fourth of July are synonymous with family gatherings and barbecues. Here are a few tips I share in my Diabetic Education Classes (but can apply to anyone) to help stay healthy and still enjoy those summer get-togethers!
1. Don’t go Hungry- We may think its betters to not eat all day long to “save your calories” for the party, but depriving yourself can actually make you over indulge. Before your event, fill up on fiber rich vegetables or a protein to help you exercise control at the event.
2. Contribute something that’s good for you- If you bring a healthy potluck dish, you know that you’ll be able to get something nutritious in.
3. Fill up on vegetables first- Eat loads of green salad, and crunch on the relish tray instead of the chips.
4. Limit your starchy carbs- Limit yourself to 1 cup (visualize the size of a tennis ball) of starchy side dishes, such as potato, pasta and bean salads.
5. “Prioritize” your favorite food- Choose starchy carbs, alcohol OR dessert. If you treat your calories/carbs like a budget then you can prioritize which items you want to enjoy. Spend that starch serving on a scoop of the creamy potato salad you truly love. Want dessert? Go for it, just make room for it first.
6. Pay attention to your position- If you sit close to the food you’re more likely to grab seconds without thinking. Find a spot on the other side of the yard. If you really want seconds, go back and enjoy but make it a mindful decision rather than snacking just because it’s there.
7. Drink water, not sugar- Staying hydrated is important but soda, fruit juices, lemonade, and alcoholic beverages can be high in sugar and calories. It is better to drink water or non-caloric beverages such as sugar-free lemonade, iced tea or coffee.
8. When you’re finished, go play- Start tossing a ball around with the kids. Rally the adults to play washers or some other outdoor game.