During the first year of my wellness plan, there were definitely some “hard times” during certain months on my calendar. I started dieting in January of 2013, so I did not have to immediately deal with the “food angst” many of us feel around the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had more than nine months to get into a rhythm before I had to tackle the holidays.
Actually, the first real challenge I faced with my new wellness plan came as late spring heralded the coming summer months.
On the positive side, the change in weather and warm days are a great incentive to get me out of the house and be more active in general. Keeping busy helps me avoid snacking, and this time of year tends to see the prices drop for the healthy meats, vegetables and fruits I still use when preparing low-carb/high-protein meals as part of my summer diet.
But, there’s a negative aspect to the great weather and all-around fun of the summer months – the constant challenge of what to do while eating away from home. Summertime brings road trips, vacations and attending countless picnics and barbecues. There are so many temptations and opportunities to break your summer diet regimen!
We could make excuses to ourselves that sound like, “Well, it is just a picnic on the Fourth of July, so I can just have whatever they’re having,” or “I am on vacation, so it shouldn’t matter if I eat this.”
We’re tempted to not worry about our wellness plans here and there. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional self-indulgence during the warm summer days as a reward, like I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts. However, if your summer schedule is anything like mine, then there are many get-togethers, events and parties, and those little moments of self-indulgence can really start adding up. Be conscious of this so all your hard work doesn’t suffer a setback.
As we move into summer, I thought I’d offer some of the ways I managed to get through last summer maintaining a healthy high-protein/low-carb summer diet:
- Bring Your Own Food (BYOF): Don’t let other people decide what you’re going to eat at a cookout or picnic. Instead, take the initiative to make sure there is healthy food there for you to eat by bringing it yourself. Make a nice salad or deviled eggs with low-carb/low-fat ingredients as your dish “to pass,” and you‘ll know there is one side you can eat. Also, bring your own choice of meat, like marinated chicken kabobs or a lean hamburger – chances are your host won’t begrudge you a little space on the grill, and you’ll have a decent meal without breaking your diet!
- Pack a cooler with health: When traveling on a road trip, take the time to pack your cooler with healthy and easy-to-eat foods you can enjoy in the car. Bags of cheese cubes or a tin of peanuts are nutritious alternatives to chips and pretzels. A granny smith apple or a few strawberries are portable and provide a low-carb alternative for something sweet. Don’t forget to pack lettuce leaves, sliced lean meats and cheeses to make yourself a healthy wrap when your family stops at some fast food place for a quick bite.
- Be decisive at meal time: When on vacation, it’s all too easy to let traveling companions decide where to eat out, but don’t hesitate to be assertive! Be the decisive one in the group and recommend a restaurant to visit, and choose one that will have healthy options on the menu. Chinese cuisine can allow you to select low-carb stir fries, while a good steakhouse guarantees you’ll have a choice of a lean protein and a salad. Almost every pancake house offers omelets and other egg dishes, which do not have to be accompanied by toast or flapjacks if you request it.
With little effort, eating away from your home in the summertime doesn’t have to mean losing ground on your wellness plan. Keep dropping those pounds all season long by making healthy meal choices, and let yourself enjoy a fun-filled, guilt-free summer!
Do you have other healthy summer diet tips to share?
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