8 Tips to Stay Healthy and Not Gain Weight This Weekend, From RDs
This Memorial Weekend seems all the more special for the fact that we get to gather safely and enjoy ourselves, but along with all that social activity comes the likelihood that indulgent treats, meals, and drinks are everywhere. If one of your goals is to lose weight and get healthier, the weekend may be fraught with potential downfalls. We asked RDs for their best tips to stay healthy and not go off your diet (if you're on one) and still have a great, fun, joy-filled weekend ahead.
The good news: It’s in your hands to have simple strategies that will help you stay healthy at every turn, says Kylie Ivanir, MS, RD so don't despair or think that you are at the whim of your host's menu choices. With these tips from RDs, you can stay healthy under the sun.
1. Treat yourself, without going too crazy.
“Allow yourself to indulge—in moderation! My No. 1 tip for parties where there is a spread of food or a buffet is to first survey all the offerings. I would never recommend going to a party and not eating at least a few things that you really want to,” comments Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a plant-based registered dietitian and owner of Plant-Based Eats in Stamford, CT. (In fact, if you completely suppress your cravings, you’ll likely cave at some point and overindulge.) “But take a look and decide what’s calling your name the most.
Maybe it’s the cake or cookies, or maybe it’s the candied walnuts or even the French fries or potato chips! Whatever it is, fill up to half your plate with more indulgent offerings—then make it a goal to fill up the rest of your plate with fruits and veggies. No doubt you can find a fruit salad or veggie kebabs!” she adds. Speaking of which these Kate-Middleton-Inspired vegetable skewers are bound to be a big hit.
2. Focus on fiber.
“The first mantra to consider: Fiber First. Fiber is essential when it comes to feeling full and satiated, as it expands in your stomach, decreases hunger hormones, and nourishes your cells. If you’re at a barbecue, add cooked or raw vegetables to your plate, sprinkle nuts and seeds over your salad, or bring some along as a snack,” shares Ivanir. “If you’re attending a potluck, offer to bring along a roasted vegetable side or a bean salad. By starting your meals with fiber, you ensure you are nourishing yourself early on [in the day],” she says. For more on the health benefits of fiber and the best sources of the nutrient, check out our guide.
3. Get enough protein, too.
“In addition to adding fiber to meals, be sure to consume adequate protein in the morning. Starting out your day with around 20 grams of protein can help reduce cravings throughout the day, allowing you to be more mindful with your food choices,” says Ivanir, highlighting the benefits of having a good protein powder on hand to add to a morning smoothie. Need help selecting a plant-based protein powder? We’ve got you covered here.
4. Stay hydrated.
Guzzle some water. “We often mistake hunger for thirst, and you can get dehydrated pretty quickly at an outdoor gathering. Make sure to drink plenty of water or your water-y beverage of choice—whether that’s flavored seltzer or club soda,” says Gorin.
Riffing on that, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT & Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, a.k.a. The Nutrition Twins, authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure and co-founders of NutritionTwins.com share that they’re big fans of starting off the with drinking a 16-ounce water infusion with lemon, ginger, and mint (check out their recipe here.) “Sip it throughout the day to prevent mistaking thirst for hunger and to save your waistline from consuming excess, tempting picnic/BBQ food and drinks,” they say.
Another smart tip? “Drink a glass [of this infused water] between each alcoholic drink to slow the non-stop flow of calorie-loaded cocktails that also shut off your body’s fat burning. The tangy flavor will make it easy to skip the sugary punch bowl,” adding that you’ll maintain the body's proper fluid balance by doing so and guard against water retention— ”and even prevent constipation and the bloat that comes with it.”
5. Load up on pistachios.
“Pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie nuts, and they’re super satisfying, thanks to their 6 grams of plant-based protein and three grams of fiber per serving. Plus, about 90% of the fat found in these pistachios is unsaturated (the ‘good’ kind), for a trio of nutrients that may help keep you fuller longer, so you’re less likely to overdo it at your next meal,” say The Nutrition Twins, adding that plant-based eaters should take note that they’re a complete plant protein and provide all nine essential amino acids. “Pistachios are delicious and feel like a splurge, so you won’t miss fatty snacks that may be calling your name.”
If you buy shelled pistachios, there’s also the added bonus of having to de-shell each one as you eat, which helps slow down how much you eat and also provides you with visual evidence of your munching.
6. Befriend lemons, big time.
The Nutrition Twins are big fans of using lemons as their “weight loss secret weapon.” Noting that they’re nearly calorie-free and replace high-calorie sauces and dressings, as well as salt, “which helps you to feel lighter by preventing bloat and water retention,” you can do a lot with the citrus fruit. “Simply squeeze lemon juice on your salad to replace some, or all, of calorie-dense dressing; squirt it on your grilled veggies, tofu, and tempeh to replace fatty butter, oil, and sauces, and spritz it on potatoes and kebabs to replace sour cream, dressings, and other fatty condiments,” they offer. “You’ll fill up and stay satisfied with the same foods that you love, but you’ll slash hundreds of calories.”
7. Celebrating at a gathering away from home? BYO plant-based recipe.
If you’re gathering with others, make a healthy and filling plant-based dish for everyone to enjoy. “When you’re not sure what’s going to be served, the best way to take control is to bring something healthy and delicious, such as bean salad or a vegan chocolate pudding,” says Gorin. You may have the unintended superpower of winning a friend or family over to plant-based living.
8. Booze better.
“In addition to food, Memorial Day Weekend is often filled with alcoholic beverages. If you will be drinking alcohol, be mindful of what you mix into your drink,” shares Ivanir. “Rather than a sugary cocktail, consider mixing your alcohol of choice with sparkling water and lemon. For a sweeter version, add in a drop or two of monk fruit. This will help prevent a blood sugar spike and crash, which can lead to fatigue and cravings.”
And go ahead and have that bloody mary. That lycopene-packed tomato juice has our seal of approval, and mom’s too.
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