In the spirit of connecting you with a space to be yourself, we wanted to push past your apartment walls and connect you with some awesome members of the community. We’ve recently partnered with Territory Foods, a local meal prep service working hard to make eating healthy easy for everyone. Not only are they crafting some expert, health conscious content for our blog-viewing friends like you, but they’re also working with us to give away three, $50 Territory Foods gift cards!
Without further ado, here’s some expert advice on sticking to your health goals this Summer!
Summertime means longer days, more pool time, frequent parties, and lots of grilling. All of these are fun, but can also have a negative effect on your fitness goals if you aren’t careful and intentional with your choices.
Most people think they have to choose between having a good time and achieving their summer bods, when in reality, you can absolutely have the best of both worlds with a little extra thought and preparation. Today I’m giving you 4 key ways to stick with your goals while still enjoying all the fun that the summer months have to offer.
photo by Nadine Primeau via Unsplash
1: Offer to bring a dish when you get invited to a party
As someone who is health-conscious and who also has Celiac Disease, this is a pro-tip I’ve been effectively utilizing for years. Offering to bring a dish provides several key benefits:
- You help the host out! Planning a party, no matter how low key, is time-consuming, so by bringing a side or an appetizer, you are taking something off of your friend’s plate. Plus, you can make something that aligns with your goals. That way you know there is something tasty and healthy at the event.
- You get to show other people by example that eating well doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless.
Personally, every time I get invited to an event where it makes sense, I offer to bring a side, and almost always choose to make some kind of vegetable. Usually, meat is taken care of, and fairly simple to figure out. Veggies are usually what get left behind at pool parties and barbecues, so I opt to bring some asparagus to grill, a sweet potato mash to complement barbecued meats, or a salad to lighten up the meal.
photo by Jason Briscoe via Unsplash
2: Make the most of the meals you have control over
When you are out of your normal routine, going out more, eating meals you don’t typically have and drinking poolside, it becomes that much more important to take advantage of the meals that you know you can control.
I’m never going to be the one that says you should not eat at a party just because it’s not the healthiest, or skip out on events you want to go to because you’re not in control of the food that’s there. That being said, if you want to continue to prioritize your health and fitness goals, it is important that you be intentional about eating meals that DO fully support your goals when you are able. Prep your lunches ahead of time that you take to work (no time for that? At Territory Foods, we make clean eating as simple as pressing the easy button!), get some veggies in at breakfast in the morning, and prioritize getting plenty of micronutrients every day.
You can eat around your parties. If you know you are going out to dinner, then cram your breakfast and lunch with plenty of protein and fruits/vegetables. Get a greens powder (I love Amazing Grass) and chug a serving of that if you realize you haven’t had any vegetables that day.
Additionally, avoid the trap of not eating before you go out to an event so that you can eat more while you are there. Focus on making sure you ADD enough protein, fruits, and vegetables in your diet around your events. Worry less about under-eating before a party so that you can “make room” for the extra calories (hint: it will most likely have the opposite effect, and you’ll end up way overeating because you arrived so hungry).
photo by Melissa Walker Horn via Unsplash
In Texas especially, this could not be more important. Add in the Texas heat AND the increased alcohol consumption by the pool, and it becomes doubly important.
Ever had that feeling where you’re outside by the pool or on a boat all day drinking, feeling ok, yet when you finally stand up you get super light headed and feel like all the alcohol hit you at once?! That, my friend, is a side effect of alcohol, heat, and lack of proper hydration.
Do yourself a favor and drink 8 oz of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. I know, I know, it sounds annoying, but I promise it will help you stick with your goals because:
- It will help you NOT feel as terrible after drinking
- It will help you be able to get your butt to the gym the next day
- Your body will be able to flush out the alcohol more efficiently
- You’ll probably drink less overall alcohol because you are sipping on water in between
Last month, I did a 10 day hydration challenge where I drank my body weight’s worth of water in ounces. If you’re feeling ambitious, try it out and see for yourself how much better you feel!
photo by AbsolutVision via Unsplash
4: Choose intentionally
Again, I’m not going to be the one to tell you to avoid all the fun foods when you go to a barbecue or pool party. That being said, intentionality with your food choices can be a lifesaver when it comes to balancing enjoyment of the event and your goals for the future.
If there is one habit I suggest you adopt, it is asking yourself what is worth it to you and what is not. Sometimes, we eat unhealthy food out of convenience, or because it is just sitting there – it’s not super special to us, or particularly tasty, but it’s easily available and we go into autopilot without giving it much thought. I encourage you to challenge yourself to ditch the mindless eating and become intentional about your choices.
A subpar Wonderbread burger bun that doesn’t even taste that great? That might not be worth it. Eating that once in awhile won’t completely derail your progress or prevent you from reaching your goals, but if you add it to your meal “just because” without giving it any thought, it adds up eventually. If it’s not special or making your experience at that event any better, don’t bother.
On the other hand, your best friend’s homemade ice cream sandwiches that she’s known for and only makes a few times a year? This is a treat that you probably don’t get that often, and it’s most likely delicious and 100% worth eating. It’s special, and it contributes to your experience at that event, so we’re fully in support of enjoying this type of occasional treat!
Another way to look at it: one week later, would you regret foregoing the Wonderbread burger bun? I’m going to guess not, and you probably might actually regret eating it when you didn’t need it and it wasn’t helping you reach your goals. A week later, would you regret eating your friend’s homemade ice cream sandwiches? Heck no, you wouldn’t, because it was special and an integral part of the event!
Start questioning your choices and making them mindfully, and you’ll notice that you begin making better choices overall because they’re backed by intention.
So that’s it; four easy tips to keep you track while you enjoy your Summer!
Bonus: To get started, here’s a recipe for a fun summer salad that is perfect to bring to a pool party or barbecue as your contribution to the meal (à la tip #1)!
Ingredients: 2 cups baby spinach, 2 cups arugula, 1 large cucumber diced, 2 medium peaches diced, 4 hard boiled eggs diced, 1 cup strawberries diced, 2 avocados diced, 6 slices bacon cooked & diced, Primal Kitchens Green Goddess Dressing to taste.
Directions: Toss everything together, add dressing and serve (serves 4).
Written by Carina Morgan
MS Nutrition, MS Medical Research, Whole30 Certified Coach, PN1, Territory Foods
Territory Foods is a ready-to-eat prepared meal company that delivers fresh, locally crafted meals to customers’ gyms and homes. On a mission to show you that eating healthy does not have to be boring, time-consuming, or flavorless, we curate our menus using in-house nutritionists and restaurant-quality chefs.
Featured image by Eric Nopanen via Unsplash