Happy July, everyone! I really can't believe it is July already. This month marks my third year as a licensed, registered dietitian. I also turn 28 later this week.
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 a 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.
With yet another big drinking and eating day on the horizon I was brainstorming ways to create a satisfying yet balanced experience that won't leave you with a food hangover the next day.
Those 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, honor your cravings or it will bit you in the you know what later. 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. One day can't ruin you. If you find yourself going totally wild at holidays, it may be because you restrict yourself too much on every other day of the year, and this is something that can be worked in through mindset work with a registered dietitian, like me! Use special days 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 enjoy food without regret or guilt. The second we feel shame or guilt, we are internally telling ourselves we 'failed' and that feeling of failure makes it pretty darn hard to trust ourselves moving forward.
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 preoccupation about food.
1. Eat 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 (that includes protein, carbohydrates, and fat) you are setting yourself up for better choices later. Try to avoid a very carbohydrate dense meal (such as a giant bowl of cereal), instead focusing on a balanced plate, for instance eggs, fruit, and avocado toast, will help you have stable blood sugars and fewer cravings.
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. Skip the 'baked' and 'low-fat' fare which will leave you unsatisfied and endlessly munching. These varieties are made with natural ingredients and are truly delicious. Find these on Amazon, and at Target, Whole Foods, and in some grocery stores.
- Jackson's Honest Chips
- Canyon Cut Kettle Cooked Chips in Avocado Oil
- Kettle Brand Potato Chips Cooked in 100% Avocado Oil
- Plantain chips
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 won't ruin you. Instead of agonizing over everything you MUST NOT eat, enjoy that extra special treat and move on. This is a great time to practice using your intuition...do you really want that brownie, or is this the one day you are allowing yourself to eat a brownie so you feel you must eat it so you don't waste the opportunity? If you tell yourself that you can have a brownie whenever you want, for instance you can bake them tomorrow!, then it is easier to recognize if you truly have the taste and desire for the brownie right now. This realization that the food isn't all that special and can be eaten whenever you want will allow you to better recognize your fullness level. Let's not make ourselves ill by trying to fit in every forbidden summer favorite food into one day.
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, celebrate all that your body can do, and have fun.
If you struggle to keep a calm, cool, and collected mind during a large eating event - then you need mindset guidance - NOT another diet. I would love to help you recognize how your thoughts may be impacting what you eat. Reach out - I'm here for YOU!
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!