realfoodCourt's four tips for The Fourth

Happy July, everyone! I really can't believe it is July already. This month marks my one year as a licensed, registered dietitian as well as one year at my job. I also turn 26 later this week - eek! Maybe 26 wasn't previously considered a "big year", but for me it means officially paying for my own health insurance. Just another step closer to adulthood... 

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. [Maybe because it's so close to my birthday and we always had birthday party that day...] Regardless, it is a day filled with family, friends, sun, grilling, games, drinking, and fireworks - can't really go wrong there. I am getting ready to head up to Jersey on Sunday to spend a few days with family and friends and I can't wait. It got me thinking.....

Last weekend I was home for several days for my brother's high school graduation. If you follow me on instagram then you have seen some of my recent posts about my break from sweets following that indulgent weekend. While I was home for four days I baked up a storm and although I make treats that are lower in sugar and typically refined sugar free and flour free it doesn't change the fact that they are still treats. It just means I can eat them without a terrible stomach ache and post-sugar rush nausea. So... we all ate a ton of cookies. Plus, I drank wine and made sangria - it was just a sugary, fun time. I enjoyed myself as I hope all of you did with your respective graduation parties, but I was excited for my routine to start this past week. With another big drinking and eating day/weekend on the horizon I was brainstorming ways to enjoy while not doing a complete disservice to my efforts in the kitchen and the gym.

mmmm my chicken salad - salad...these healthy meals are actually SO delicious

You guys who have been following me know my approach: restriction is never the answer. Enjoy food, enjoy life. Eat foods that make you feel good, avoid those that don't. I have a previous post about surviving the holidays which you could refer to if you would like as well. Honestly, I just think going to a fun gathering and limiting yourself to lettuce and water is not fun, and not worth it. As I say, and will continue to say, having success with your health, your weight, or whatever your goal may be, is directly related to consistency. Enjoying one day can't undo all the hard work you have done, but don't use it as an excuse to go wild either. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and listening to your body. You can enjoy food and drink while still honing in on your hunger and fullness cues and practicing mindfulness (...don't park yourself in front of a chip bowl...). One of the hardest parts of building a happy and healthy lifestyle is learning to indulge (but not too much), without regret or guilt, and knowing how to get back on track when the moment is over. It is something I continue to work on! 

Today I want to share with you some of my tips for having a healthier Fourth of July. I hope you find even one of these useful and can find a way to enjoy yourself without feeling guilty. 

realfoodCourt's four tips for The Fourth

1. Skip the bagels, but not breakfast. There is an unfortunate belief that by skipping breakfast you "save calories" for bigger indulgences later. Just - no. Eating breakfast helps set you up for the day. It gets your metabolism started and when you eat a well balanced breakfast (not what you see on TV is well balanced, but see picture below) you are setting yourself up for better choices later. Don't load yourself up with an insane amount of high density carbohydrates. That means bagels, are a no-no. Instead, eat a balanced meal with protein and fat and a lower density carbohydrate. 

balanced breakfast doesn't have to be complicated, or pretty

2. Eat a better chip. Lets face it. Every beach trip, pool hangout, or backyard barbecue is not complete without some munchies. If you're going to eat chips, which I know most of you are, myself included, try a better version. These varieties/ brands are made in oils that do not oxidize under the high temps of the frying process. This means they are less inflammatory than other chips you might buy. This is not an excuse to go all out and eat an endless amount. They are still chips, and still have a high carbohydrate density. But, if you are going to eat chips, at least eat a better kind! Here are my favorites, find them on Amazon (prime anyone?), Target, Whole Foods, and in grocery stores, typically in the "natural" section (whatever that means). 

3. Save the sweets for later. So it's summer- it's hot. I get it. Ice cream is extremely appealing. Especially today. I already spoke to the importance of consistency. Ice cream this one day won't undo you, but if you have goals then remember them. Enjoy that extra special treat and move on. My best tip for ice cream or your other sweets eating is to is to separate it from your meal. If you're noshing on lots of tasty foods all day there is no need to stuff yourself to the point of discomfort just to enjoy a sweet. Wait a few hours, let yourself digest a bit. The treat will be less harsh on your digestion and do less damage with crazy blood sugar swings. 

 coconut milk ice cream is my weakness

coconut milk ice cream is my weakness

4. Be active. Last but not least! The Fourth of July is about being outside! Get off your butt and get moving. Play frisbee, or corn hole, or ladder golf. Swim, or walk on the beach. If all else fails, walk to the fireworks in your town! Live that active lifestyle and have fun.

Remember, consistency is what matters, so wake up on July 5th and get back to your normal habits.

And if your typical habits aren't in line with your current goals then check back here at Real Food Court on July 5th when my nutrition counseling services (in-person and virtual) finally become available!


Have a happy and safe Fourth of July everyone!