Picnics, Parties and Pie, Oh My…
by Angela Ginn, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E.
The heat is on, and it’s time to fire up the grills. Although you may be prepared to wage a war on weight gain during winter months, don’t sleep on the backyard barbecues, beach parties and other seasonal festivities. If you’re not careful, you can pack on pounds in the summertime, too.
What’s behind the fuller figure during the hot months? Some of the biggest culprits are a lack of exercise, poor food choices and alcohol. There can be summer activities that simply work against your efforts to stay swimsuit-ready. Scores of s’mores, for example, aren’t the best for your waistline. Fortunately, this time of year is also packed with choices.
Here are strategies to help you win the battle of the bulge and have fun in the process.
Keep it moving.
Don’t use the heat as an excuse not to exercise. Go running during the early mornings or late in the evenings, and stay hydrated. If it’s too hot for an outside run, take the action indoors by hitting the treadmill or doing aerobics. Include a few calorie-burning activities — such as rock climbing, swimming, hiking or kayaking — as part of your vacation.
Avoid heading out hungry!
Going long periods of time without eating often increases our appetite and tempts us to overindulge. Try to stay within timeframes for meals. If unable to eat a meal at your normal time, eat a healthy snack to keep hunger away. Grab a handful of lightly salted nuts or 2 percent milk-based cheese. Protein found in nuts and cheese has been shown to lower your appetite. These snacks will satisfy your hunger without spoiling your appetite.
Keep it light during the cocktail hour.
Stay away from most of the delicious goodies at the picnic table spread. Those calories in a glass and on a toothpick can add up over the course of the evening.