Just because you’re trying to eat healthy doesn’t mean you have to avoid summer barbecues and get-togethers. The best way I’ve found to stick with my clean-eating diet is to plan ahead. Here are some things I find helpful:
• Don’t skip early-morning meals thinking you might eat a lot later in the day. Heading to a party hungry will just make you want to eat everything you see. Have a good breakfast and another healthy snack before leaving for an afternoon event.
• Be sure to fit in a workout. You’ll feel better, both mentally and physically, after burning some calories.
• Bring a healthy appetizer to share. Munching mindlessly on appetizers is an easy and common way to sabotage a diet. Make your own (below is a recipe for a tasty, nutritious bean dip, with most ingredients available right here at Vitacost.com!) and you can enjoy before-meal snacking without the guilt.
• Choose hamburgers over hot dogs, and veggies instead of chips. If possible, choose skinless chicken.
• Have a heaping helping of fruit salad for dessert, instead of cookies or cupcakes. If possible, bring a fruit salad that you’ve prepared. Fill it with all of your favorite fruits, including ripe summer berries, to make it as appealing as possible.
• Drink a light beer or wine spritzer if you’d like, but be sure to drink a lot of water as well.
Having a healthy-eating “game plan” makes sticking with your diet less stressful, letting you really enjoy your time with family and friends. Remember, do everything in moderation and you won’t feel like you blew your diet in one day!
Tuscan White Bean Spread
1 can navy beans, rinsed & drained
1/3 cup fat-free plain yogurt
3 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, finely chopped
In a blender, combine beans, yogurt, garlic and Italian seasonings; blend until smooth. Add basil and sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Chill for 1 to 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving with pita chips or crispbread.
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.