Ways to Eat Healthy and Still Have a Blast!
We all love time off and a reason to celebrate. And 4th of July is the perfect one – a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. Most of us attend picnics, BBQs, fireworks and spend time with family and friends. But oftentimes, this holiday may become more about eating and drinking too much and then feeling either sick afterwards or guilty that you didn’t stay away from the cupcakes, beer, burgers and fries.
Well, take a look at these tips to help you stay on track and feel better about your celebration. Staying healthy is all about making smart decisions on a daily basis. There is always room for special occasion foods in moderation if you choose. You can just get right back into the health groove the next day.
The Essentials for a Fit and Festive 4th!
1) Eat slowly
A research study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that participants in the study consumed fewer calories over the course of a meal when they ate slowly. Plus, this is the only way that you can truly enjoy your food. If you’re going to eat that piece of cake, brownie or ice cream, at least eat slowly and savor all of the yumminess!
2) Chew your food – I recommend chewing for a count of 15 for all foods (some may even require more)
The more you chew, the quicker you start breaking down the carbohydrates and fats in your mouth, making it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients from smaller food particles as they pass through. Inadequate chewing causes foods to move through your GI tract without being properly broken down, so nutrients are simply wasted. And, chew chew chewing discourages food-borne bacteria from entering your gut on large pieces of food. Overgrowth of detrimental bacteria can lead to gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and other digestive problems. So – chew, chew, chew!
3) Eat the healthy stuff first
Make sure to eat some veggies before anything else. They could be in an appetizer (veggies and dip, caprese salad, soup) or in a salad, side dish (grilled veggies) or entree (kabobs, veggie burger, stir fry). Remember, colorful veggies are the powerhouses of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (all of those nutrients that nourish your body and make you feel energetic and happy).
4) Take a healthy dish to the party – this ensures there will be something healthy for you to consume and prevent overeating the junk
Veggies with Tzatziki dip
Veggies with creamy avocado sauce
5) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
It’s hot out these days and running around at the beach or at a BBQ while drinking alcohol can cause quick and unexpected dehydration. Be smart and hydrate with water often. If drinking alcohol, drink a glass of water in between each drink.
6) Think before you drink too much
Spend time mingling with friends and having fun and ease up on the alcohol. You will have more fun when you know what you are doing! Remember to drink a glass of water between drinks to prevent dehydration. You can also consider drinking a mixed drink made with sparkling water (seltzer water), mineral water (Perrier, San Pellegrino) or club soda.
**Avoid tonic water because most brands are sweetened with corn syrup.
To make most cocktail recipes a little healthier, substitute simple syrup with ½ tbsp honey mixed with ¾ tbsp warm water.
You can also try:
a) Seltzer water, mineral water or club soda with your favorite vodka and lime/lemon/orange
b) Seltzer, mineral water or club soda with your favorite white wine or blush wine
c) One of the recipes below:
- 2 large limes, cut into pieces
- 2 cups water
- 3 packets Stevia
- 1/4 cup light rum
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- Ice cubes
- Quartered limes and/or mint leaves
In a blender combine lime pieces, 2 cups water, and Stevia. Cover and blend about 30 seconds or until limes are chopped but not pureed.
Strain through a sieve into a large pitcher.
Mix in 2 cups additional water. Cover and chill for 1 to 12 hours.
Stir rum into lime mixture.
Divide mint among glasses. Use a wooden spoon to press mint into the bottom of each glass; press firmly to release flavor.
Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour chilled lime mixture over ice and mint leaves. If desired, add extra quartered limes and/or mint leaves.
Scrap the mix and make a Bloody Mary from scratch!
Start with ¾ cup of no sugar-added, low-sodium tomato juice and add the juice of ½ lemon, a dash each of hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, fresh ground pepper to taste, and 1 shot of vodka.
Garnish with a lemon wedge and celery stick. Bonus points for adding a cocktail shrimp for some extra protein!
- 2 shots fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 2 shots sparkling wine
- ¼ cup seltzer
Muddle half a very ripe peeled pear in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
Add ice, ½ shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and 1 shot pear vodka or regular vodka.
Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of fresh pear.
Have a wonderful 4th and enjoy yourself!!!!
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