6 Tips to Survive Florida Festival Season – Eating Healthy at Taste of Bonita

It’s officially Festival Season in SW Florida.  Our Rotary club had our annual Taste of Bonita last weekend.  A full weekend of food, fun and music for all to enjoy.  I was there for nearly the entire event as I was “working” the event for our club.

The “problem” with an event of this type is that there is food to eat ALL weekend. The entire weekend is built around “eating” BUT, you can still make healthy choices and not sabotage all the good you’ve done all week.

When you are on your feet all weekend, that counts as exercise. 🙂  Here’s how I kept a healthy focus while surrounded by all the amazing attractions.

Saturday was the BBQ & Chili cook-off. I opted for a couple of chili options.  I asked the vendors how may veggies were in their chilis and how they were made.  I ate one beef chili, loaded with onions, peppers and tomatoes.  It was tasty, but my winner, and the people’s choice was Ted’s Montana Grill’s Bison Chili~!   WOW!  Great flavor, lots of veggies, AND… the meat was ground, grass fed bison – high in good omegas. (Beef that is good for your heart.)

Saturday night, I wasn’t as healthy, had to have a cheeseburger in paradise for the Caribbean Chiller’s concert. But the water and protein smoothee helped offset that.  I also threw away half the bun. (every small step counts)

Sunday, The BIG day. 25 local restaurants offering their wares.  I ate a Prime Rib slider from Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub/The Stage as my splurge, then opted for a fresh veggie salad (seen above) from the local farmer’s market stand and a fruit smoothee (sans agave) from Edible Arrangements. Veggies and fiber helped to fill me up.  I spent a lot of the day drinking lots of water to stay hydrated.

Here are your tips!

  • Eat a high protein breakfast before you head out. When you don’t sabotage yourself with an empty belly beforehand, its easier to make smart choices later.
  • Look at your options. Is there an option that would be just as tasty, or more, than the other options and provide more nutrition for your caloric intake?
  • Drink a LOT of water. This helps keep you filled up so you aren’t thinking you are hungry, AND keeps you hydrated on days that could be very warm in SW FL.
  • Check the menu before you head out.  Many events, like the Taste of Bonita, offer a menu of what is being served by most of the venues.  Scout out the menu for the healthy options.  I did this before hand, so I knew I wanted a whole fruit smoothee and the delicious and colorful salad and where to find them.
  • Dance! Many of these events have live entertainment, boogie down and burn a couple of extra calories.
  • Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you splurge.  Dance a bit more, enjoy yourself, and remember that next time you can choose to make a healthier choice. Have FUN!

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