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6 ways to approach summertime eating

Posted: Jul 5, 2013

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6 ways to approach summertime eating

“I don’t eat that very often” is a common phrase uttered in my office after a client has indulged in a high-calorie food. And while it may be true that you don’t have that specific food very often, if you consume several indulgent foods over a short period of time, the calories and pounds can quickly add up.

The same is true with events. Yes, you only have one birthday per year and may only have one family reunion to attend, but if these and other events happen in short succession, you will probably consume many different high-calorie foods that you don’t have very often.

This is especially true in the summer months. Weddings, BBQs and weekends at the cottage all have the potential to derail ones healthy eating efforts and contribute to weight gain.

So if you’re like me and have a packed social calendar from now until September, here are some strategies to help minimize the calories.

  1. Do not save-up your calories for the event. While this sounds like a good plan, it will almost certainly result in over-eating later in the day. Instead be sure to eat all your meals and snacks and don’t forget to include protein at all of them to help maximize fullness.
  2. Pre-eat so you arrive full. By spoiling your appetite you’ll be less likely to over-indulge. As a guideline, aim to have double your typical snack calorie amount including 20g protein about one hour before any food is served.
  3. Ask yourself the following two questions. Is it worth the calories (and if so) what is the smallest amount I need to feel satisfied? This will help prevent mindless eating by making you more aware of your choices.
  4. Treat your calories like cash. Pretend you have a limited budget and only eat the foods you know you’ll enjoy.
  5. Track your intake. Of course it will be difficult to be accurate but there is still value in simply recording what and when and estimating the calories. This relates to point 3) in that it will keep you aware and thoughtful around your choices.
  6. Adjust your expectations. If you have several events over a short period or if you over-indulge, it is better (and far more realistic) to expect to maintain your weight or even to only gain a pound or two rather than losing. By doing this, you’ll be less hard on yourself and will reduce the risk of feeling deprived which can ultimately lead you to abandon your healthy lifestyle altogether.

Mark McGill, RD