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How to Balance Taste and Nutrition at Summer Get-Togethers

two women in a pool with sunglasses

School is wrapping up, your kids are itching to stay out later every night, and your social calendar is not slowing down. You have the end-of-the-year picnic, the kids' birthday party, the pool party, the neighborhood block party, and summer get-togethers, and that's only what's on the calendar for the next month. You've been working hard on your goals and feel the nerves creeping in about being able to continue to make progress with a full social calendar. You know you want it to be sustainable and not another "how do I lose weight fast" gimmick because ice cream on a hot day is essential.

In this blog, we will cover how to approach meals away from home in preparation, some easy appetizers you can bring along, and the mindset needed to successfully navigate summer party season.

How to approach meals away from home

It's easy to get into the eff-it mentality for meals that you can't control and are away from home. There are usually tons of salty and sweet options, things you may not have in your house every week, and those feel like they are your weakness.

In the past, you would save up calories all day to feel like you could eat whatever you wanted and not feel guilty, but every time you would leave the party with a stomach ache and guilt still seeping in. We aren't going to lose weight fast if we get into the habit of saving calories, then overdoing it.

Here's our gameplan for this time at get-togethers:

What if you treated it like any other day rather than skipping your snacks and making meals as little as possible to save up calories? You had a balanced breakfast with protein, carbs, and color. You went on your morning walk and drank your water. You had a satisfying lunch, and you even had a snack before going, too. It seems like something that would mess up your goals, but it isn't. Keeping your routine normal and consistent can be a great way to go into your get-together feeling satisfied and level-headed. No crazy hunger pangs or tunnel vision on the chips because you're starving when you keep routine.

Going into the event having your normal intake can help you navigate the spread without hangry eyes that pull you towards eating the entire bowl of chips because you're starving. Can you imagine how much more satisfied and content you will walk out of the party feeling rather than feeling uncomfortable on the ride home, with a side of guilt for how many servings of ice cream you had?

Routine is key to regulating hunger and fullness cues, helping you make sound decisions with your meals, and prevent you from overeating.

Easy Appetizers to Bring Along

Most often, you're asked to bring an appetizer or snack to a party, but you're left scratching your head and surfing Pinterest for hours trying to figure out what to bring. You're on a weight loss journey, so you want it to be healthy, but you also don't want to be that person that brings the "diet appetizer" that no one ends up touching.

Fun and healthy appetizers are a real thing and we have some ideas!

healthy cookout snacks guide

Caprese skewers are easy and combine protein with fiber and antioxidants. A winning combo that can be made ahead of time and served in single-serving portions.

Fool everyone with a higher protein Greek yogurt dip when you combine 16 ounces of 2% plain Greek Yogurt with a packet of Ranch mix or dry onion soup mix and serve with veggies, pretzels, and crackers.

Or, try out a higher protein Buffalo Wing Dip with extra chicken, and Greek Yogurt, and make it saucy with extra wing sauce. We love to use the leftovers in Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls.

The best part? No one has to know that it is a healthier appetizer!

The Mindset Needed to Successfully Navigate Summer Parties

As always, your mindset can make or break progress. Especially when you're trying to lose weight fast, but also keep it off. We all have a subconscious conversation going on that will either talk you into something or out of something, depending on how you're feeling your mood, and more.

If we go into the party with the mindset that everything is bad for us and that we will probably overeat, then we'll probably walk away from the party feeling exhausted, stuffed, and mad at ourselves that we overdid it again. Or, we can go into the gathering knowing that we are fully nourished, that this will not be the last time that we have the opportunity to eat potato chips and dip, and that if we aren't hungry for dessert, it is okay to pass on it. Reminding ourselves that food is food and that we have the opportunity to eat the food again sometime, and reassuring ourselves that it is okay to say no, we can feel comfortable in those situations.

Normalizing foods like chips and dip, dessert, burgers and fries, and more can help us to feel more confident and comfortable in those situations, rather than feeling triggered to eat it all. Any time we take something away or deem it bad, we only crave it more. We do not like to be told what to do or what we can and cannot have. Once we remove it, the cravings usually increase. So, why take away what you love?

As summer kicks off and your calendar fills with social gatherings, maintaining your health goals might feel daunting. However, with a strategic approach and the right mindset, you can enjoy these events guilt-free and without derailing your progress.

Approaching meals away from home with a balanced mindset is key. Instead of saving up calories or succumbing to the allure of every tempting treat, stick to your usual routine. By starting the day with a nourishing breakfast, staying hydrated, and having regular, satisfying meals, you'll arrive at events feeling satiated and in control. This consistency helps regulate hunger cues and prevents impulsive overeating, ensuring you leave the party feeling content rather than regretful.

When it comes to bringing a dish to share, opt for delicious yet nutritious options that everyone will love. From protein-packed dips to fresh and flavorful skewers, there are plenty of appetizers that satisfy both taste buds and health goals. By showcasing these dishes, you'll demonstrate that healthy eating can be enjoyable and inclusive.

Above all, cultivate a positive mindset towards food and social gatherings. Recognize that occasional indulgences are part of a balanced lifestyle and that it's okay to enjoy your favorite treats in moderation. By reframing your relationship with food and embracing a non-restrictive approach, you'll feel empowered to make mindful choices at summer parties without feeling deprived or overwhelmed.

So, as you navigate the summer party season, remember that it's not about perfection but rather progress and balance. By prioritizing self-care, making informed choices, and fostering a healthy mindset, you can savor every moment without compromising your well-being. Cheers to a summer filled with good company, delicious food, and continued progress towards your goals!


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