The 4th of July is here! While it’s an ideal time for celebrating with friends and family, you don’t have to sacrifice your diet to enjoy yourself. Here are our top five tips for surviving all the BBQs, parties and other temptations you have in store this weekend, whether you’re on a low carb diet, using medical diet pills or simply maintaining your weight loss results.
1. Plan ahead. Don’t graze at every stop you make this weekend—it’s better to stick to normal meals with some low carb, nutrient-rich snacks throughout the day so you don’t arrive anywhere with an empty, growling stomach. Start the day off with a well-balanced, protein-rich breakfast such as a veggie omelet or fiber-packed steel cut oatmeal with berries. Studies show that eating breakfast helps you eat less calories throughout the day.
2. Load up on healthy foods first. Fill at least half your plate with fruits, veggies, salad or any other healthy dish on the menu. Eat the healthy items first to slow down digestion and so that you may fill up a little by the time you get to the not-so-healthy items. If you’re at a BBQ, opt for lean protein, as it will help keep you full for the duration of your day.
3. Use smaller plates and don’t focus on your meal. Research shows that when you choose smaller plates, you tend to eat less without noticing a difference. Grab an appetizer or dessert plate instead of dinner sized and see what happens. Eat slowly and mindfully, putting your utensils down as much as possible. Engage in conversation and you’ll fill up faster and eat less.
4. Pass on the empty calories. Try to stay away from refined carbs that so often grace parties and BBQs, such as bread, chips, crackers and baked goods. They don’t fill you up and in fact cause sugar spikes and crashes, which results in eating more sooner than you would if you ate something healthier. If you don’t want to skip a bun with your burger or sandwich, try it with just half—it will taste just as good.
5. Opt for a small dessert. If you must indulge in something sweet, make sure it’s a small serving. The difference between the calories, fat and refined carbs in a small serving of something versus a larger piece can be can be very significant. Keep it small and make sure it’s something you really like—don’t just have a random dessert just to have it.
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