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How to stay on track this Labor Day

In honor of all the hard working people out there, let's celebrate! This weekend we recognize the American Labor movement, end of summer and for many, a paid day off.

Lots of folks will probably be grilling out some good food like hot dogs and hamburgers. Of course, there will probably be lots of drinking involved. While we all deserve and enjoy one heck of a celebration, it's important to create balance, especially if you're making an effort to improve your overall lifestyle with improved nutrition and fitness.

A major tip is to not let food/alcohol control/consume you. Don’t make these indulgences the center of your obsession. Holidays are far more than just food and drinks, it’s about celebrating our accomplishments and sharing those experiences with loved ones.

The takeaway? You CAN celebrate and indulge in moderation without undoing the hard earned progress you strive for day in and day out. I've addressed these tips before but here's a friendly reminder. All helpful as we head into Labor Day weekend with a plan to have fun while staying on track.

  1. Have a plan

  2. Stay Hydrated

  3. Don’t skip meals

  4. Be selective about indulgences

  5. Stop stressing, enjoy yourself

Keep reading as I elaborate on each point!

1. Have a plan-Let’s talk about two scenarios.

Scenario #1: You’re cooking with your family and looking forward to your Mom’s strawberry rhubarb pie. You want some pie, so focus on preparing balanced dinner options. For example, 90/10 ground beef for burgers with whole grain buns or consider a lettuce wrap. Pair that with a healthy carb like baked sweet or white potatoes. Hold the butter and sour cream and replace that with 1-2 tablespoons of 0% Fage Greek yogurt and a dash of salt/pepper. Then add a veggie, like green beans. Let’s say you want potato salad instead of a baked potato. Ok, that’s fine, but stick with an appropriate serving, 1/3 cup, just enough to satisfy the craving without overdoing it. After dinner, enjoy your piece of pie and move on! Back on track. Don’t continue to stuff your face just because food is there.

Scenario #2: You attend a party and can’t control your options. Fair enough, but you can control your portions. Similar recommendations here; search for 4-5 ounces of a lean protein source, a carb, a veggie and a small dessert. Or swap your dessert for a yummy drink. Pick and choose and indulge in moderation. Having a plan prevents you from going cray-cray on the food table and allows you to eat within a controlled environment or at least being mindful of how much you’re eating.

2. Stay hydrated-Drinking lots of water is going to help you digest those extra calories, while continuing to flush out your system. A lot of the times after we eat food that are “off plan,” we tend to be hungry again shortly after. That’s because party foods like pizza are not nutrient dense. They’re filler foods with additives. It’s funny how a meal like chicken, rice and broccoli will leave you satiated. That’s because that type of meal is loaded with vitamins and minerals beneficial for our body, nutrients our body craves for efficiency. Drinking plenty of water also fills you up. Drinking a full glass before a big meal, might just do the trick to prevent you from overeating.

3. Don’t skip meals-Don’t starve yourself all day because you know you’re planning to go balls to the wall at your friend’s or family’s BBQ. Eat your breakfast, maybe a lighter lunch and a snack to tide you over. Bringing on foods not as nutritious for you just because it’s a Holiday is not the best mindset to have. Fuel your body with nutrient dense foods prior to your celebration then indulge, again in moderation.

4. Be selective about indulgences-The dessert table gets me. I want it all. In theory that sounds great, but in reality, I know that’s not the best option for my body. I pick one or two small portions of desserts that I know I’ll love and I enjoy them. I recommend you do the same. You don’t need to eat every item on the menu. You know what you like. Enjoy those things and forget the rest!

5. Enjoy the holiday-Don’t stress. I know this is easier said than done, but seriously its just food. In our society, we obsess over food and our bodies all day every day. Take a step back and really think about what you’re celebrating and whom you’re celebrating with. Food is a temporary satisfaction. Relationships and memories last forever.

Hope these tips helped! Wishing all of you a fun, relaxing and safe Holiday weekend as we celebrate Labor Day!

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