No matter how hard we’ve worked to establish a routine rooted in exercise, nutrition and portion control, there’s no denying that summer celebrations can tempt us to stray off course. It’s easy to lose track of what you’re eating when you’re distracted and having fun, and tough not to overindulge when you’re surrounded by gooey dessert platters and smoky flavors from the grill.
But all the excitement and changes in routine don’t have to send you into a nutritional tailspin. If you approach the holiday with the right mentality, you can still have plenty of fun without overdoing it – and you’ll feel so much better about yourself the next day!
Ready to get proactive about adding a healthier version of fun to your July 4 plans? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make H20 your go-to accessory. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help you stay hydrated in the heat and stave off false hunger pangs. (Often, when you feel hungry, you’re really just thirsty!) I try to take a bottle with me wherever I go so I don’t end up drinking sugary juices or sodas. You can also help limit your calorie intake at cookouts by drinking a bottle of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume, and remember that there is no nutritional value in drinking your calories.
- Get creative on the grill. For a healthy alternative to frying, throw your lean meat, veggies and even your dessert on the grill and enjoy the opportunity to cook outside. We just tried these healthy Blueberry, Ginger & Lemongrass Turkey Burgers and were pleasantly surprised at the result. We felt very “Master Chef” making them (the blueberries were our secret ingredient), and, the entire family loved them.
- Do a chip swap. Replace those BBQ potato chips with something that actually has nutritional value – kale chips. To make them, just buy a big box of pre-washed kale, toss it in a little olive oil and chipotle seasoning, and bake at 350° for about 10 minutes. I guarantee your guests will love them!
- Add a burst of color. As one of the few naturally occurring blue foods, blueberries are great for adding a nutritional kick to your July 4 menus. With just 80 calories per cup and virtually no fat, these little dynamos create healthier alternatives to many of the rich, sugary desserts you find at outdoor picnics. Try these Blueberry Sparklers or Wave the Flag Cupcakes for a treat that’s pretty to look at, and fun to make with kids!
- Marco? Polo! Boost your heart rate by joining the little ones and having some fun in the water! No pool? An intense game of Capture the Flag is the perfect mix between fun and exercise. You won’t even realize you’re burning calories and your kids will love that you’re getting in on their games!
With a little bit of planning and creativity, it’s easy to make your July 4 festivities a little healthier without sacrificing any fun. These are just a few ways – what tricks work best for you?