Summer Eating Strategies

How to eat at social summer events

Summer is a great time of year for all sorts of casual and formal events, most of which can be stressful for individuals who are trying to lose weight.  It seems there is an endless smorgasbord of food at almost any social function.  Unlike the winter holidays, where food choices are fairly predictable, summer lends itself to the opportunity for more surprises and more exotic food options.

Like any social occasion, whether it be vacation, wedding, graduation or back yard pool party or barbecue, the strategies for maintaining weight or losing weight are the same.

First , it is important to look at the event and realistically evaluate your goal.   Many people feel that they have earned a vacation and it is something they should enjoy.  When it comes to food, it is one of the things that they may be looking forward to enjoying.  So if you are going on a 2 week cruise of the Mexican Riviera, you may want your goal to be to not gain weight during that time away.  If you have a wedding one day that you have to travel to, your goal may be to stick to your plan and continue to lose.

For weight maintenance, I usually recommend that you employ many of the same principles of your everyday weight loss plan with the exception of allowing yourself 1 extra indulgence, be it wine or dessert.  Typically, if you stay on your protein plan for breakfast and lunch, you will not gain if you allow yourself to have something extra in the evening only.  This is usually effective for 1-2 days, many more than that and you’ll find yourself gaining, or struggling with cravings.

When going to a social event where there is a potluck or if you are invited to someone’s house, you can be sure they will not mind if you bring a dish to share, just make sure it is something you can enjoy and that it fits into your nutrition plan.  Examples include:

Meat and or cheese Tray

Fresh Vegetable Tray

Low carb dessert (sugar free jello, berries with whipping cream)

High protein hors devours: shrimp cocktail, chicken breast cut into cubes, steak bites, chicken wings

Veggie salad with meat or cheese (Caesar salad)

Pickles, olives, green beans, asparagus and pickled veggie tray

The most important principles still apply:

Don’t let yourself get too hungry, eat before you go to the event.

Bring something that fits into your eating plan, that way you will have all the resources you need.

Finally, if you go off track remember, you have the opportunity to go back on track at your next meal. Don’t talk yourself into the defeatist attitude “well I already screwed up so…”  Instead say to yourself, “well I went off track, but I am supposed to eat again in a few hours and I will get back to my protein then.”

Brandy W.

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