Summer Navigation Guide –
Enjoy the Sun While Staying in Shape!
By Lindsey Woodkey
It’s that time again! Fire up the barbeques, plan those summer vacations, and (gasp!) … purchase the swim attire you will don this year. Whether you’ve made and kept your New Year’s resolution, or you still have some work to do, here are my summer survival strategies. Family gatherings, vacations, and pool parties need not be recipes for disaster.
At Barbeques: Eat before you go. This will keep you from being ravenous and making unhealthy choices. Protein is best, so opt for a tuna cup, hardboiled egg, or whey protein shake.
Look at the spread BEFORE making your choices. Choose items you really enjoy and leave the other ones. Often we think we must have baked beans, or cheese on our burger just because it’s there.
Watch out for dressings and sauces. Not only are they breeding grounds for food-borne illnesses, they are calorie bombs. Trust me, you’ll hardly miss the mayonnaise on that hot dog. Instead, make safer choices such as mustard, hot sauce, and low calorie salad dressings.
When filling your plate, think “islands”, not “mountains. We often take more than we truly need to feel satisfied, then are distracted by conversations and consume it all. Instead, think of each serving as an “island” instead of piling food onto your plate.
Fill up on fruits and veggies first. These foods are voluminous, meaning they take up a lot of space with few calories. By choosing to eat these items first you will quiet those hunger pains without consuming too many unnecessary calories.
Focus on the company, not the food. Why are bratwurst and potato salad the focus of our gatherings? Station yourself away from the appetizer table and converse with your family and friends. It’s hard to get a word in while you’re stuffing your face.
Drink WATER. As good as an ice-cold beer sounds, it can wreak havoc on your dedication to eating healthfully. Not only are there unnecessary calories in alcohol, it lowers your inhibitions and promotes you to indulge more than usual. Stick with water, not calorie-laden lemonades or sweetened ice teas. If you must have a beer, keep it light, and don’t drink on an empty stomach.
Be Active. It’s a BARBEQUE! Set up a net and play volleyball or badminton; join the kids in a game of tag; if you’re at the park get a game of dodge ball going. You may even forget about the cherry pie!
If you’re the chef, you have even more you can do to “healthify” your gathering. Now more than ever people are becoming conscious of their health and what goes in their bodies. Most will appreciate your efforts to offer a lower calorie spread!
Swap High Calorie Condiments. Fat free mayo, mustard, low sugar ketchup, unsweetened relish; the options are endless and can save you hundreds of calories.
Choose lean meats. This means 93/7 grass fed beef, chicken breasts (without sugar-filled barbeque sauces) and flank or sirloin steaks. Since leaner cuts tend to be less tender, marinate your meats before grilling.
Stick to One or Two Carbohydrates. Do we really need beans AND potato salad AND corn? Not to mention the high calorie buns. I’m not saying deprive yourself or your guests, but limit your spread to two carbohydrate-filled items. Feeling adventurous? Try skipping the bun and instead wrap your burger in lettuce or use portabella mushroom caps.
Include lots of healthy options. No one will miss the store bought chips and dip if you have an array of fresh veggies, healthful salads, and fruit platters. Make your own Greek yogurt dips and dress your salads with vinegar to save on calories.
Opt for Sugar Free Beverages – What’s a barbeque without ice cold lemonade? Choose a sugar free version. Many have 10 calories or less per serving. Your guests won’t even know the difference!
Say no to heavy desserts – You’ve worked hard to keep your meal healthy, why blow it with cherry pies or ice cream cakes? Fruit with low sugar whipped cream or angel food cake with fresh strawberries will leave you satisfied and ready for that game of flag football, not on the sidelines in a carb coma.
There’s no need to stay away from social gatherings or deprive yourself this summer. Make simple, healthy swaps and your body will thank you. Whether you’re at your goal weight or far from it, wear your summer clothing with pride. Most importantly, take time to have an enjoyable summer with your treasured family and friends!
Lindsey Woodkey of Ellensburg is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor with bachelors’ degrees in exercise science and nutrition from Central Washington University.