Surviving the Summer Picnic Season – healthier choices

10 tips to survive the Summer Picnic season and NOT wreck your new healthier patterns and habits.

So, here was the question posted: 

“Okay, I will need help getting through the summer! Cookouts (burgers, brats, hot dogs [yucky]), birthday parties, ice cream, chips, potato/pasta salads (mayo)…oh my! What are your best healthy, alternative food choices while dealing with summer events? Especially those you are invited to and cannot control what you are served?”

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Bring your own salad to add to the spread.  This gives you some control of what is offered and a healthy alternative no matter what is offered. Many times the host is happy to have another salad to add or some fresh fruit.
    Pico de Gallo
  2. Pack a cooler full of water. We always pack a cooler with bottles filled with filtered water, so I know I have something to drink that isn’t “pop”!  Its really easy to drop in some lemon or strawberry slices to dress it up for the occasion.  Take your own glass or use what they provide and just keep filling it with your own beverage.
    Get_Clean_Water  Fruit_infused_water
  3. Eat healthy before leaving or bring what you need to eat.
    This is becoming more common place. With all the food allergies and special diets, it only makes sense to bring what you need.  Amusement parks allow us to bring in everything we need for the day (corn allergy).  We have found that host/hostesses are relieved to find we have brought what our darling daughter needs to eat. No need for him/her to fuss about her special needs (or yours) be proactive.
    Cooler_bag
  4. Skip the more refined foods. Skip the mac n cheese, the salads LOADED IN MAYO, and the white buns.  Choose a vinegar slaw over loaded baked potato salad, or limit yourself to just a taste.
  5. Know your Condiments. Mustard has hardly any calories and kicks it up a notch, pepper and other herbs and spices.  Read labels on the bottles, if they are on the table, or choose to forgo them as a whole.. and LOAD UP ON THE VEGGIES TO STACK. We also frequently take our own HFCS free catsup since Lil bit is allergic.
    ketchup
  6. Garnish the heck out of it. A lot of times garnish is made up of beautiful veggies, leafy greens, & fruit.  Don’t be afraid to load your plate up with the healthy garnish, especially if others aren’t eating it – why let it go to waste. Choose extra lettuce and tomatoes or pickles.
    veggies
  7. Choose your words wisely.  If friends (or strangers) ask you why you aren’t eating something, remember that it isn’t that you “CAN’T” eat something, it is that you “DON’T” or you “CHOOSE NOT TO” eat something.  If you really want a taste, then take a taste – you don’t have to eat the whole birthday cake or pie. I frequently find I prefer just a nibble and I am satisfied or reminded why I don’t eat “that”. 
  8. Avoid dips. Not the guys with the stupid jokes, the creamy, calorie laden dips.  Opt for a pico de gallo on a SPOON. Perhaps this is the dish you prefer to bring… Or maybe a bean salad of some sort. 
  9. Wrap that meat up in some lettuce or eat it with a fork, like I do. Avoid the buns, they aren’t good for you and really aren’t needed.  Grab a big piece of lettuce, a fork or a skewer and pretend you’ve just gotten a meat on a stick at the fair. Also, choose grilled over fried!
    Lettuce_wrapped_burger
  10. It isn’t what we do once in a while that causes our problems, it’s those things we do on a daily basis that create who we are, how we feel, and in the end – how we look.  Don’t beat yourself up  if you choose unhealthy choices at one event in a month. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP PERIOD! Remember, the shortest distance is a straight line, if we stray, just gently redirect yourself back to that line.

These are the ways I have found to personally survive when we are surrounded with foods and options that don’t meet my desired path.  I almost always have a snack bar in my purse or truck to grab in dire need and I always have healthy alternatives on me for my daughter as well.  (Ask her- she has to have a protein before a carb… she’ll tell you that.)

Happy, healthy picnicking!

For more information on making healthy choices, feel free to contact me!

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