Summer is here, and for many of us, that means pool parties, weekends at the lake, and family vacations. In other words: burgers, barbecue, and probably booze. Not exactly the kind of food that makes us look or feel our best.
Vacation doesn’t have to mean choosing between bingeing and deprivation. It’s all about balance. Moderation is key! Enjoying yourself while ensuring that you don’t wander too far from what you know is best for you.
Below are 5 nutrition strategies that can help you navigate the typical nutrition pitfalls that come along with summer fun.
1. Take some staples with you.
Why It Works: Packing snacks ensures that you’re never left “option-less” and forced to eat junky fast food or gas station fare
2. Scout out restaurants before you go to find options that align with your preferences.
Why It Works: When you research restaurants ahead of time that are close to where you’ll be staying, you can have a plan and be more likely to stick to it. It’s when we feel unprepared that we make less-than-stellar or impulsive choices.
3. Adjust your eating to allow for more a little more indulgence here and there
Why It Works: You can make some very simple and almost unnoticeable changes in your normal eating patterns that will reduce your calories just enough so that if you do have a couple of glasses of wine at dinner, indulge in a hearty brunch and a mimosa, or nosh on some fried chicken while hanging out by the water, you’re not totally stepping too far away from your normal intake.
Why It Works: Parties and vacations are meant to be a source of enjoyment, not a source of stress. Thinking in extremes is a sure-fire way to make you miserable. It might even make a binge more likely. Relax, listen to your body, choose fresh food that sounds delicious, and enjoy yourself.
5. Prioritize your indulgences.
Why It Works: Depriving yourself of your favorite foods and beverages on a regular basis depletes your willpower (yes, willpower is finite), and it’s more likely to lead to binge eating down the road. You’re much better off developing good habits instead of relying on finite motivation and willpower to white-knuckle your way through life.
There you have it. Five strategies to help you enjoy yourself this summer (or any time, really!) while maintaining the health and physique you that make you feel your best.
Brought to you by: Taylor Williams, MS, RDN