(click the image to get a link to this recipe)
With the fourth of July fast approaching it is time to start planning out meal ideas for the occasion. You’ve been working really hard towards your fitness goals and you feel you deserve a cheat day. However, you can have the best of both worlds. You can enjoy delicious meals without backtracking on all the progress you have made so far. If you follow these easy steps, you will get all the benefits and enjoyment of the holiday while still staying on track on with your fitness goals. The first step you can take is to skip breakfast. If you’re not already familiar with intermittent fasting, skipping breakfast may seem like a ridiculous idea. We have been taught for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. New research shows that this is not necessarily the case. By skipping breakfast you are allowing yourself to save more of your daily calories for later on in the evening which is most likely when you will be gathering with friends and family. Also, you will most likely be busy with setting up for the day so your mind may not even be on food. Opt out for black coffee or even sparkling water. Both drinks are known to be appetite suppressants. Another great option is to eat before the party begins. This will blunt your hunger and keep you from having cravings all through out. The fourth is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your family and friends. Go outside and play! Whether it be tossing the frisbee or a ball, going for a walk, or whatever you may enjoy, being active will not only serve as a workout but, it is a fantastic way to get natural Vitamin D. In terms of food, make smart choices. Instead of unhealthy appetizers like chips, serve veggies such as celery or carrots with a fresh, homemade dip.
Also, instead of more carbohydrate dense salads such as a potato salad, have a variety of fresh, leafy salads. A typical Fourth of July party may have hamburgers or hot dogs. You can clean these up by choosing proteins such as chicken, turkey, or extra lean beef. To even further cut down on the unnecessary calories, skip the bread and use lettuce as a wrapper bun. Take time days ahead to research healthy recipes if you want to meals that are a little more special. In today’s world, there are healthier alternatives for almost everything! Once your meals are all set, consider meal timing. What you eat and when you eat can be super beneficial. Before even eating, make sure you are hydrated. Thirst can sometimes be confused as hunger. Before eating carbs, eat your protein and load up on veggies. These foods will keep you satiated for much longer as well as contain less calories. When it comes to drinks, skip soda or any sugary drinks. Water with freshly cut fruits in it is a great way to get your water intake while adding some flavor. On top of that, you get a little treat once you finish your water and get to the bottom. Instead of buying lemonade or other juices, make them at home! Although this may be time consuming or perhaps pricier, you will know exactly what your drinking and have the peace of mind that you aren’t just filling your body with sugar. The same can be applied towards alcohol. Staying away from heavy beers, super sugary drinks, and drinks mixed with high calorie sodas or juices, choose a high quality in or vodka. Home made juices or even just cut fruit are great, low calorie mixers to add a bit of taste.
Lastly, have fun! Make the day about spending time with your family and friends and not about the meal. Staying busy will help keep you and your mind away from the food.