Surviving the hot dog and potato salad scene
You know the scene I'm talking about, the one where you walk around the family BBQ, hoping to find something relatively healthy, and end up staring into the bottom of a potato chip bag. As we pulled in the yard (not the driveway), I remember the feeling of "I hope everyone else has eaten the chips and dip before I get there, so I won't be tempted to pour the whole thing down my throat."
What is it about summer that has us all twisted up about healthy eating? I usually save myself by bringing something of my own to nibble on, but I seem to spend my fair share of time at the appetizer table with everyone else. After thinking about this scenario and regretting the feelings of overeating, bloating and sugar-hangover the next morning, I have come up with a few things that can save you from summer smorgasbord-itis.
1. Stick to water. At least you know this is an option for your beverage. It's easy enough to find a faucet if you bring your own water bottle. Give your liver a break from processed sugars in sodas, juices or alcoholic beverages. This is also a great strategy to keep you hydrated and "full" throughout the day when you feel like picking up another paper appetizer plate.
2. Fill up with as many whole foods as you can find... i.e. be that person who brings the vegetable tray. You might be the only one eating it, but if you fill up on real foods, you will have that much LESS room for other choices. There are a few options that will blend in with "party food" like: watermelon, strawberries, frozen fruit bars, hummus, guacamole, salsa, (you can eat these with rice chips!).
3. Choose your choice. <-- I know, it seems obvious, right? What I mean is, don't dwell on your poor choices. Choose it and move on. If you have been craving that cheeseburger and potato salad all day long... then have it!! Put it on your plate and enjoy the taste that brings back the memories of you getting dunked by your older sibling in the family pool. By controlling your choice, you have decided what to eat and therefore shutting down the open-ended grazing and endless refills of your plate. Being in control will prevent you from the nagging guilt that comes later after having "pigged out" uncontrollably.
Good luck out there. I know it can be a battle to keep yourself comfortable, relaxed and not worrying about counting calories.
Have fun, with no regrets. Treating your body right by nourishing it with whole foods will repay you dividends later, when you are satisfied and not belly-aching from overeating.
Stay in control this summer, and please, don't pass me the chips.