It’s not just kids who look forward to summer—adults do, too! The season is a true treat with fun family vacations and cookouts on long, holiday weekends. Preparation for swimsuit season has come and gone—and you are ahead of the game with your weight loss accomplishments so far this year. Congratulations!
Although the feeling of accomplishment is as warm and fuzzy as the summer sun, dark clouds may be making way to your thoughts. Summer festivities provide opportunities to indulge in our favorite dishes, but how do we continue to truly experience the flavors of summer without sabotaging all our hard work? I'm taking the driver’s seat to steer you in the right direction toward some healthy, flavorful tips.
First and foremost, take a deep breath! Small steps and changes are what have brought you here today, and you won't go far by continuing strict diet plans. Being restrictive will only put the car in reverse! It's important to be realistic with your current and future goals, no matter the season.
Navigate through the tools that have encouraged you to lose weight in the first place. Maybe it was logging your meals in a food app, trying new healthy recipes every Monday or a motivational blog that stimulated ideas for attainable goals. Once you pin-point the North Star, take note on how you can continue to implement that tool in the future. Reflect, then build off those habits with the following six tips.
Incorporate more water
Water is especially in the heat to prevent dehydration. Water is calorie-free and drinking a glass before a meal can help you eat less by feeling more satisfied. Add some jazz to your drink by infusing fruit into your glass. Water helps to facilitate better absorption of nutrients found in foods, and with fruit-infused water, you can eat and drink more nutrients.
Choose more fruits and vegetables
Set a long-term goal of incorporating them in all meals. Start slow by adding fruits and vegetables to foods you’re already consuming. Add peaches to your overnight oats or pears to your ham sandwich. Spice up your summer vegetables by trying a blend of distinct flavors, such as chipotle chili pepper or curry. Make sure to tie in seasonal fruits and vegetables to add more of a summer flavor to your table.
Get involved in more physical activity
Play a game of sand volleyball with your neighbors, go on a bike ride with your kids or enjoy an evening hike with your husband. The nice weather gives you an advantage to burn more calories and move more towards maintaining your weight loss. In order to execute your physical activity goals, have a plan the day before specifying when and what exactly you are going to do. Write it down to hold yourself accountable, and maybe include a workout buddy who shares common goals.
Keep well-balanced food items with you while on the go. Nut snack packs and tuna packets provide a good source of protein that help to sustain energy. Dried fruit is also a healthy snack and a sweet treat to incorporate for a boost of nutrition.
Prep your meals
Designate a day that works best for you to prepare a couple of meals for the work week. If you enjoy making dinner each night, get your storage containers out when cleaning up and portion your servings out for lunch the next day. This always cuts some time out of your morning rush and also makes the clean-up process more productive!
Have fun on the weekends
Enjoy summer cookouts and graduation parties while they last. The weekends aren't a free-for-all, but eating well throughout the week can give you more freedom to relax a bit more on the weekends. This is a great way to practice mindful eating, as well as portion control.
All in all, with weight maintenance, you are continuing a journey to your final destination. Explore and adapt to changes along the way, but make sure to learn as you go. You may not make all the right turns but it's understanding the road to your end goal. Below is a meal guide that maps out a well-balanced summer eating plan. Make sure to reach out to a registered dietitian or nutritionist in your area if you are in need of more individualized plan with specific attributes. Good luck and enjoy your summer!
Meal Plan + Recipe Suggestions
Option 1: 1 cup Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup whole grain granola + 1 Tbsp. chia seeds + 1/2 cup seasonal fruit
Option 2: Baked Honey-Granola Protein Bites + 1 cup skim milk + 1/2 cup nectarines
Option 3: Blueberry-Acai Smoothie Bowl with Collagen
Option 4: Overnight oats + 1 scoop protein powder
Option 1: 1 serving of Summer Slaw with Salmon
Option 2: tuna wrap: 1 whole wheat wrap, 1 tuna packet, 1/3 avocado, ½ cup spinach, ¼ cup cucumber, ¼ cup red pepper with 1 cup Spicy Carrot Chips
Option 3: Thai-Style Coleslaw with Chicken & Mint
Option 1: 4 oz. baked cod with Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Summer Seasonings
Option 2: 1 turkey burger patty + 1 whole wheat bun + 1 slice of grilled pineapple + 4 oz. sweet potato fries
Option 3: 1 serving of Easy Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos
Option 1: 1 French Vanilla-Mixed Berry Ice Pops
Option 2: 1 cup yogurt with grilled peaches
Option 3: 3 chocolate-dipped strawberries