Picnics, Parties and Pie, Oh My…
How many calories can you avoid by more carefully selecting what makes it onto your plate? For example, you can devour a whole meal’s worth of calories before dinner.
Be aware of what (and how much) you eat.
Summer activities typically revolve around loads of high-calorie foods. Avoid overloading your plate. If you must try a hot dog or hamburger, stay away from the cheesy sauces and chili toppings. Better yet, choose seasonal, healthy foods such as fresh fruit, including watermelon. Grilled vegetables — if you avoid butter — are good choices too. Also, limit ice cream treats to no more than one a week.
Take your time, and slow down!
The next great strategy is to stop eating before you’re stuffed. Savor your food. According to Psychology Today, when people savor and chew food thoroughly, and eat smaller portions, they reach satisfaction sooner and decrease the chance of overeating. Think one serving: try to avoid reaching for seconds. If the temptation is strong, reach for the vegetables. It is always acceptable to request a doggie bag. This will both save you from taking in excess calories and provide lunch for tomorrow.
Mix and match your favorite foods. Aim for 400–500 calories to save room for dessert. Remember, portion size is the key: you don’t have to consume the entire serving size to savor the selection. All you need to do is taste it. A tablespoon or a single slice will do!
Split a sweet treat. Be sure to stay in the safety zone by aiming for 200–250 calories.
Say ‘cheers’ with low-calorie beverages! Although some studies show that one glass a day (or less) of red wine can make your heart stronger and may aid in boosting your memory, some mixed drinks have surprisingly high caloric numbers.
It’s easy to forget that you can drink as many calories (or more) than you actually eat. Aim for 1–2 drinks for the evening. Lower calorie beverage options include water, diet soda or seltzer with a twist of lime. Here is a list of some drinks and their caloric contents, to help you make more informed decisions when indulging in a social drink.
These tips are simple and effective. Follow these guidelines, and you are sure to see an improvement in your health and consumption patterns. Information is power, and understanding the link between psychology, nutrition and planning in optimizing your health can make a positive difference.
The summer is a great time to connect with family and friends. So, enjoy the fellowship and the meals that accompany the occasions. Just be sensible in your food and beverage choices. Otherwise, you’ll find that too much of a tasty thing could have lasting health effects.