How to Eat Healthy this 4th of July

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What are you planning for this 4th? A fun summer day with family? A BBQ cook-out? A trip to the beach? Working overtime? 

Many of us might have plans this Holiday that surround FOOD - and that’s great! It’s a time to celebrate and be with those you love and enjoy some great dishes, flavors and favorites that come out this time of year but how are you navigating this Holiday within your new, sustainable nutrition practice? 

This blog will review some of the quick tips to navigate the Holiday with ease and feel like you are in control with your choices! 

The first thing to consider is your location. The mentioned variety of parties, locations, types of food and environments that you might find yourself in this Holiday is but one factor in what influences our decisions about what and how we eat. 

For example, take a beach trip. Often we are limited with what we can bring (keeping things cold and within safe temperature zones is easier said than done with a cooler for long, hot summer hours in the sand! And what about the types of food? Often sandwiches, chips, soda, ice cream and other quick to eat comfort foods are the first thing to be included on a shopping list for the beach but that doesn’t have to be the case if you have a little time to plan ahead. Additionally, hydration is SO important when out in the sun for hours on end. (And don’t forget that sunscreen!). So, with all of this to think about - how can you navigate healthy choices, keep your sanity and enjoy the sunshine? By using the same strategies you have been implementing in your new nutrition practice that’s how!

Here are some quick tips for a few scenarios you might find yourself in this 4th of July:

4th of July Celebration on the Beach:

  1. Pack non-perishable easy snacks

    • Pre-cut fruit and vegetables

    • Jerky snacks/bars 

    • Popcorn or pretzels (sweating all day at the beach is part of the bargain, but don’t forget about replenishing and re-hydrating along the way. Having a little extra sodium will not hurt you in this environment but don’t skimp on the water either!). 

  2. Have a small snack ahead of time (make this well-rounded, including a lean source of protein, fruit/vegetables and complex carbohydrates to keep you energized until your next opportunity to fuel). 

  3. HAVE FUN! Enjoy the occasional goodie, it’s not every day that you get to have certain dishes and if you want it. HAVE IT. It’s about sustainability and moderation and allowing yourself to enjoy the things you love is part of the sustainable aspect of your nutrition practice, limiting and restricting yourself is not sustainable and not for long term. 

BBQ Cook-Out

  1. Bring your own source of protein for the grill if you are unsure of what will be available (or have preferences aside from what you know will be served)

  2. Options could include: veggie burger (black bean burgers, grilled portobello mushroom burger, chicken burger or skewer, turkey burger etc) 

  3. Bring a side dish

    • Fruit salad, cut vegetables/veggie tray, high water content melon (great for staying hydrated and easy to snack on while waiting for your grill item

    • Grain salad or mixed green salad (super easy to make and customizable - bring add-ons for guests to create their own renditions) 

  4. Hydrate with water vs. punch/sugary drinks or alcohol (within moderation). 

    • Try to keep tabs on how many glasses of water you have vs. mixed drinks or punch - with a party it can sometimes be difficult to keep an eye on but these can easily add up!

  5. Fill up on fruit! 

    • Summer is a great time for seasonal fruits, take advantage and fill up on fruit as an appetizer and include this side on your main plate or for dessert as well.

Working Overtime

Sometimes on Holidays the break room is filled with cookies, cakes, delicious dishes and more - but how do you navigate these goodies while surrounded by them at work? 

  1. Bring your own lunch/snacks. 

    • Without the temptation of feeling ravenous for food once you enter the break room, your mind can do a little more thinking with less impulse from hunger when making a decision to try out of the goodies surrounding you. Maybe even bring a fun, healthy dish to share with your coworkers! Then, just like if you were at a party or event, you know right away that you have a healthy choice. 

  2. Don’t forget to eat!

    1. Often during busy Holidays while working it can be easy to forget to eat (depending on where you work/specific job duties). Don’t let your hunger get the best of you and make sure to fuel yourself for your busy day

      • Pack extra snacks “just in case” including fruits/vegetables/whole grain crackers and cheese/protein smoothies etc. in case you get stuck without a lunch break or need extra energy to finish out your shift. 

Of course these are but a few of the events and occurrences that might fill your time this Holiday, but overall it’s important to consider how you are making these events work within your nutrition practice and how you are creating a sustainable pattern that will LAST. Not one that will fade out and exclude the wonderful Holidays, gatherings and life events that happen all the time! 

Happy 4th of July!

Heather Gerrish