I think summer is a tough time to stay on track with healthy eating; vacations, kids at home, beach, pools, cocktails…need I say more? Today we’re going to discuss some tried-and-true tricks to help keep you eating healthy this summer.
1. Eat Breakfast! – you’ve heard it time and time again; “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” or “eat breakfast like a king (or queen)”. And this continues to be the #1 rule of healthy eating, because how you start the day will impact the rest of your food choices for that day. Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism, set a healthy tone for the day, and prevent you from overeating later on in the day. If you’re not a breakfast eater, make it simple; a smoothie, granola bar, toast with avocado (a favorite of mine!), whole grain cereal, low fat dairy (or non-dairy) milk, fruit and a little protein will do just fine!
2. Eat Slowly – it’s so important to eat slowly and chew your food! Not only does it give you a sense of eating more, but it gives your brain more time to register fullness and stop you from overeating. Eating slowly can also be accomplished by eating with friends or family. Enjoy some good conversation while you eat and help your healthy eating goals!
3. Limit Distractions – Put away the phone, turn off the TV and computer, and just enjoy your food! It’s so easy to eat on the run all the time, especially while driving kids to activities all afternoon. Instead, make a point of stopping whatever you’re doing and taste the food. This will also allow the brain to send you fullness signals rather than let you continue to eat mindlessly!
4. Don’t Drink Your Calories – This is a BIG one for me in the summer, especially on vacation. Fruity cocktails, frozen beverages and wine every night will do it! By all means enjoy your vacation, but be mindful of how many empty calories you consume in the liquid form. Make sure to drink plenty of water (especially before and during meals) or unsweetened tea.
5. Plan Snacks – I truly believe the success of healthy eating for you and your family lies in being prepared and planning ahead. Whether it’s lunch on the go or that post game snack for your young athlete, we MUST be prepared! Invest in a small cooler lunch bag (Target has great ones!) and always carry with you water, fruit, carrot sticks, nuts or even a sandwich! My son carries his “snack pack” to and from practice every day, since he is STARVING by the end of 2 hours of hockey practice. Having his “snacks” on the way home gives me time to get home and feed him a healthy dinner and not have to stop by a drive thru.
6. Practice Portion Control- I sometimes struggle with this one, because I love to eat! To control my portions, I use salad plates for dinner, and I put away food as soon as we’re done serving…out of sight, out of my stomach! It’s also important to look at serving sizes of prepared foods to avoid overeating. When eating out, I ask for a “to go” box as soon as my food hits the table and I put away my take home portion before I even start eating.
7. Brush You Teeth After Dinner – Especially after dinner, brush your teeth and step away from the kitchen as soon as dinner is over. I never thought this would work but it actually does! Brushing your teeth also signals your brain that you’re done eating, and you really won’t want to add another taste to the minty toothpaste taste in your mouth!
8. Don’t Forget to Exercise – This is the key to success during vacations! We know vacations are a time to indulge, step out of the routine and enjoy those “treats” you rarely have at home. My husband and I just spent 15 days in Spain. It was an amazing trip, and since we are both foodies, we spent much of the time experimenting and trying the local foods, which meant lots of bread, ham, cheese and of course, wine! (wine was cheaper than water, my kind of country!). But we made a point to exercise every other day; went for runs by the beach, hikes and even hotel gyms. It really helps make us feel better!
Enjoy the summer, but keep yourself and your family on track with healthy eating! Make sure to share this post!