Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Have a Healthy 4th of July!

Hey peeps! :) How's it going? Another month has come and gone and we're now in July! Can you believe it?!? I know I've said it before, but I've gotta' say it again, this year is flying by! We're officially 7 months into the year and it feels like we were just celebrating the new year (which I guess isn't so new anymore, lol) just yesterday. In America we celebrate Independence Day in just a couple of days so I thought I'd write a quick post with some quick & easy tips on how to have a healthy 4th of July. So without further adieu, let's get to it!

10 Summer Holiday Survival Tips 

1. Use small plates. Research shows that people who choose smaller plates and utensils eat less without even noticing it.The difference can be as substantial as 50% FEWER CALORIES CONSUMED! But with the same level of fullness and satisfaction achieved. So try borrowing a plate from the kids table or the dessert tray.

2. Eat slowly and mindfully. This is a big one for me, I'm a fast eater (I think I get from my dad, lol, he's a fast eater, too), but the reason why it would be beneficial for anyone to eat a little slower is that the fact remains that people who eat more slowly eat fewer calories over the course of a meal. BBQs are perfect opportunities to pace yourself as you mix and mingle with friends & family. The more you chat, the less you eat!

3. Put a little color in it. The new MyPlate food guidelines recommend that the American plate be at least half filled with fruits and vegetables. This is fun and easy to do with a summertime barbeque when some of the best fruits and vegetables are in season. Light up your grill with a vegetable skewer to include a colorful array of veggies like peppers (red, green, orange, and yellow), zucchini, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and onions. Meanwhile grill some corn on the cob and offer up some fresh cut watermelon and your guests are pretty close to their goal fruit and vegetable consumption for the day.

4. Serve up something lean. Lean meat and meat-free entrée options can taste just as good as the full-fat version without a ton of calories and artery-clogging saturated fats. Opt for 90%+ lean meat for your burgers and substitute chicken sausage for Italian sausage. Offer veggie burgers as an option as well (non-meat eaters like myself appreciate it, believe me!).

5. Grill healthier. While grilled foods are among the healthiest types of foods to eat, the hydrocarbons (PAHs) that form when fat from meat drips on a hot coal and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that form when meat undergo high-temperature cooking. The good news is that grilled fruits and veggies don’t seem to form these compounds. And, if you cook lean meats, you’ve got a lot less fat dripping on the coal and decreased formation of these harmful compounds. You can further reduce exposure to PAHs and HCAs by marinating meats in lemon juice, vinegar, and spices prior to grilling.

6. Eat healthiest foods first. If you're eating slowly and off small plates, you may as well fill up on the healthiest stuff first. Salads are a great place to start because watery vegetables slow digestion and have very few calories. Try to choose something with oil and protein as well, because these will help you feel full sooner.

7. Skip the chips, crackers and bread. Refined carbohydrates are the worst things you can eat because they offer little satisfaction, loads of calories and dangerous insulin spikes. BBQs are filled with wonderful food, so do yourself a favor and save your calories for the really good stuff. You don’t have to eat your burger without a bun, but pass on the pointless chips and other snacks that lure you when you’re not thinking.

8. Keep dessert small. The difference between a large slice of cake and a smaller slice of cake can literally be hundreds of calories. You don’t have to pass on dessert completely, but keep your portion sizes in check for this course.

9. Think before you drink. While some of us choose will choose not to drink, the reality is that a lot of people will, and there's nothing wrong with that. There'ss a place for alcohol in a healthy lifestyle, but making smart choices can be the difference between losing or gaining weight (not to mention your self-control). One sugary margarita can have 600-800 calories! That means 3 margaritas is more food than you should be consuming in an entire day! Is that really worth it? Stick with wine or beer, drink plenty of water and remember to pace yourself.

10. Last but not least, GET MOVING!!! Include games and physical activities like basketball, volleyball, swimming, ... etc., depending on the space and equipment available, to keep guests having fun, as well as to keep them occupied with something active rather than continuously grazing. Plus, they can burn some serious calories in the process.

Remember, holidays are for celebrating and are meant to be enjoyed, but you don’t have to sacrifice your health or body every time you attend a gathering. Small tricks can save you hundreds and potentially thousands of wasted calories that you will never notice or miss. Why sacrifice a good time when you can just upgrade your healthstyle? These 10 survival tips can save you hundreds of calories you won’t even miss, and keep your health and fitness goals on track!

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