With Labor Day weekend coming up quickly, literally tomorrow (or today for those of you lucky enough to have Friday off), I wanted to give some helpful tips to staying on track when at the variety of traveling, parties, cookouts, and festivities you are inevitably going to partake in over the weekend. (As you should!) It can be difficult when you feel like you are not in control of the food you are being served. As Midwestern folk, we are wired to politely munch on and eat what is placed before us; they’re gracious enough to provide so we will not complain, right? Sure! To an extent. You have goals an, sure, one bad day isn’t going to send those goals spiraling down the drain; however, there are ways to indulge and enjoy, while making smart choices that will keep you on track and feeling good about the holiday!
1. If you’re traveling, pack your own snacks!
There is no reason to rely on gas station munchies to get you through a road trip. Make your own trail mix, pack up a few Rx bars, grab some Fuel for Fire from the fridge in the gym (make sure to write it down on the retail sheet…;)). Healthy snacks are some of the easiest things to find! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good stop for gas station munchies but when you are trying to eat healthy, there are much better, and just as delicious, options! Some of my favorites are Rx Bars, Fuel for Fire, almonds, apples/bananas with nut butter, greek yogurt, and beef jerky. Honestly, many healthy options can be found at the gas station (holler for Kwik Trip), you just might have to do a little digging. 😉
2. Avoid arriving at the party hungry.
I used to do this ALL. THE. TIME. I knew I was going to a cookout or going to be having an awesome dinner out with friends so I wouldn’t eat anything all day long so that I could stuff my face that night. Not a good strategy. You end up making much worse choices when you attend a gathering hungry than if you’ve fed yourself normally throughout the day. Sure, feel free to have that brownie you’ve been waiting all day for, you just won’t feel the need to have four if you show up only slightly hungry versus ravenous. Eat a protein and healthy fat packed snack about an hour before your holiday get-together. This will help cut any cravings for sugar and processed carbs.
3. Attending a potluck? Stick to the meats, veggies, and fruits first.
Yes, my favorite part about a pot luck is the desserts. Hands down. However, if you’re looking to make some better choices over this holiday weekend, start by loading up on the protein choices that are available first. Every potluck has a veggie tray, so be sure to load up on those as well. Once you’ve have a healthy helping of those, feel free to go back for some of the more indulgent plates. There is nothing wrong with having some and this way, you’ll be full on protein and veggies and be less tempted to have more than you should! Also, bring something you know will keep you on track for your goals so you know you will have at least one healthy option to eat!
4. Stay active and focused on the people you’re with!
One of my favorite things about any holiday is the food that comes along with it; however, making the food the focus is what can get you into trouble. Focus on the awesome people you get to hang around with and suggest going for a walk or playing an active yard game to keep people moving and making fun memories! Offering to clean up and help your host will also help prevent overeating or reaching for an extra dessert.
5. Remember that YOU ARE HUMAN!
If you do happen to slip up, leave the guilt at the door. Recognize what happened and remember that one over indulgence and one bad day does NOT ruin all of the work you’ve already put in. Holidays are about times spent with family, making memories, and having fun. Remember your goals and know what you want to get out of them but avoid letting them control your days. Relax and have fun with the ones around you!
I hope this helped give you a little food for thought (pun intended) as you go into the long weekend. Remember that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Take the little extra time it takes to set yourself up for success this weekend! Remember to HAVE FUN! We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!