Picnics, parades, festivals, and (overeating at) barbecues are all staple celebrations on holiday weekends. Now, unless you hang out with a bunch of crunchy health nuts and squares (like me), your food options at these gatherings probably won’t be the healthiest.
Beer, wine, hot dogs, chips, cookies, brownies… the list goes on. Going on a long holiday weekend without indulging in some (or all) of these treats can feel impossible. As a health-conscious Daily Tonic reader, what should you do?
The first thing you can do is plan ahead. If you know that you have a family barbecue coming up, what you eat in the days leading up to that barbecue can be crucial in setting you up for success.
That said, remember that planning does not mean starving yourself leading up to one of these social gatherings. While this might seem like a good strategy, “saving your calories” for hot dogs and cookies at Aunt Sally’s house can be counterproductive.
If you find yourself in front of a snack table full of highly-palatable, processed foods and you’ve been significantly restricting your calories in the days leading up to being there, you are considerably more likely to overeat. The better strategy is to prioritize protein, veggies, and other highly satiating foods prior to these events.
Overeating will not derail your health goals if you get back to your routine as soon as possible
By getting plenty of nutrient and fiber-rich foods in the days and hours before hitting the holiday snack table, you will be less likely to have intense cravings and skewed hunger queues that can lead to overeating.
The same applies to curbing your cocktail, beer, and wine consumption at these events. By prioritizing water consumption throughout the day, you can ensure that your body is appropriately hydrated and less likely to overdrink and feel any severe hangover symptoms the next day.
It is also important to remember that while there is always social pressure to drink at these types of gatherings, you always have the option of going the “mocktail” route. Pour yourself sparkling water, add some ice and a lime wedge, and enjoy a refreshing drink without booze. Walk around with that in your hand, and most people won’t know (or care) that you aren’t imbibing.
And finally, the best tip for navigating these holiday weekends is to move on. Maybe you had the best intentions going into the day, but cousin Marty’s brownies were just too dang delicious, and you overindulged. Perhaps you were catching up with some long-time friends and had too much chardonnay.
Whatever the case, one day of overindulging will not make or break your health. As long as you get back to your routine the following day and find some consistency in the following weeks, loosening the reigns during the holiday weekends is just a part of being human and enjoying the meaningful social connections that happen when you get together with family and friends.
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