The tinny recording of the calliope music as the ice cream truck rounds the corner … the smell of hamburgers grilling … the allure of potato salad … that subtle tang of mayo calling out to you … the delicious carafe of sangria waiting for you to taste.
Summer diet traps are quite real.
Despite the pitfalls, summer is a great time to eat healthy. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies … and shorts and tank tops reminding you of your goals. Here are five tips for how to avoid summer diet traps.
BBQ. If you think it will all be junk food, then steer clear of the picnic table. Join in the potato sack race to burn off some calories and focus on conversation, not food. Go easy on the butter for your corn-on-the-cob, just a dollop of potato salad, and try to load up on the veggies. The less room on your plate for high-calorie items, the healthier you’ll be.
Beach. Sandwiches laden with condiments and sugary lemonade sounds great, but you’ll be regretting your choices later. Try water with a slice of lemon instead and choose half a sandwich while filling up on the cut veggies. The best thing about beach picnics is the built in opportunity to move. Splash in the surf, play volleyball, or go for a butt-busting power walk along the shore.
Picnic. Picnics provide an opportunity to really load up your plate with calorie-rich foods: a glass of wine, a brownie, a thick cut of meat. It’s easy to carry a lot with you and it’s easy to over indulge. Focus on those fruits and veggies and think of the treats as a condiment. A little dab will be great. Use the outdoor opportunity to hike, toss a frisbee, even fly a kit. You can inject nostalgia into your activities more than your hips.
Hiking. Hiking is a strenuous activity and we need to keep our calories up while we’re moving. Hiking mountains or hills can burn about 550 calories per hour for the average 150-pound person. But … granola can be deadly! A cup of granola can have between 500 and 600 calories! Keep that in mind while you’re munching on the trail. This is a perfect place for some lean protein choices to mix in with your whole grains.
Pool Party. Lounging next to the pool with a kitchen only steps away gives the host an opportunity to pile on the calories. A buffet can offer everything from salads to slabs of chocolate cake. Stick to the usual game plan of veggies first and just a dollop here and there of the less healthy stuff. And use that pool! Go ahead and play Marco Polo or water volleyball … it’ll be a blast.
That’s just a few ideas to get you through the summer svelte and healthy. My go-to is always to bring my world famous cucumber salad. It’s super healthy (a combo of cucumbers, red peppers, onion, water, and vinegar) and I even get requests for it now. This way I can grab one hot dog (about 325 calories), a big pile of cucumbers, and I’ve done very little damage.
Hope this helps you avoid summer diet traps. Let me know what strategies you use.