Coming off of the 4th, I thought I would share some tips to help get through holidays, backyard bbqs and summer family gathering as you go through your dietary evolution. As I have said before, food is the centerpiece to many gatherings. If your family is anything like mine, there is usually an abundance of it. And it is the food that makes you feel warm and cozy and loved. It also sits there. In your stomach. For a while. And the cozy, loving feeling becomes a little nauseating. Before you know it, you are more than full. I get it. Believe it or not, I miss it sometimes.
I must say, even though I miss those traditional foods sometimes, I enjoy feeling good even more. My body thanks me for making mindful choices, and I feel far less guilt. If you are trying to navigate through an evolution of eating habits, I’d like to give you a few tips on how I get through the family togetherness from a food perspective.
1 – Eat a snack before you go. I usually try to eat something filling, meat or a sweet potato. A food that is high in protein helps me feel satisfied and sustains my energy. Arriving on an empty, hungry stomach makes it easier to make unhealthy decisions.
2 – Remember to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. This is just a good tip in general. The body functions better when hydrated, especially when outside and/or active.
3 – Bring more than the ‘required’ amount of sides. If I am asked to bring a side, I will bring 2 – 3 that I know I can consume. If I am not asked to bring anything, I still will bring 1 at least. I will choose whole foods like fruits and veggies or organic tortilla chips and salsa. Things that most people can eat, but ensures there are multiple that work for my diet so I don’t feel starved or neglected.
4 – Bring a dessert. I tend to have a sweet tooth, especially when there are quite a few at gatherings. This allows me to eat dessert with everyone else and enjoy the experience without hurting my intake or my system. The first couple times I did this, I felt a little odd bringing a cupcake in a baggie in my purse. But I quickly got over it after I got to enjoy my sweet treat and go home with a happy tummy.
5 – This is probably the most important of them all. Be present. I try to be cognizant of the memories being made around me. It is easy to get caught up in the delicious food at the gatherings over summer, but the real joy comes from the relationships and the time spent together. In an attempt to stay away from the food table, I envelop myself in the activities going on. Watch the kids kicking the ball around, join the conversations about the family tree, join the volleyball game regardless of skill level. Being present helps me to not focus on the food I can’t consume.
Summer time is a great time to enjoy the fresh foods, the outdoor activities and the sunshine. But it can be difficult when trying to navigate through dietary changes. For me, it also helps to remember that this is my choice. A lifestyle choice. And I am choosing this because I want to be healthy and I want to feel good. It gets easier, and your body will starting craving the old foods less and less. Hang in there. And hopefully these tips will help!