Holiday How-To’s

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There’s a 4-day weekend coming friends, and I could not be happier about it! John and I are going on a cruise this October, and we’re super excited about it, but planning a vaca in the fall makes for a loooonnnggg summer watching everyone else go on their trips. Anyway- all that to say, I’m excited for the weekend!

Holiday weekends are so fun, but they can majorly derail your efforts if you’re not careful. I know that any kind of appetizer/snack foods are a huge weakness of mine. It’s so easy to quickly go overboard, so for today’s post I thought it might be helpful to outline a few tips before going to barbeques and parties this weekend.

Moderation, Moderation, Moderation

I know. This was groundbreaking. You totally weren’t expecting me to talk about portion control. Surprise, surprise. But seriously! I know I am not the only one who “accidentally” eats “half a bowl of Chex-Mix.” You know how it goes. You’re hanging out by the food table talking to your cousin, and just handful by handful you mindlessly consume those calories! I don’t know about you all, but the more I track my food, the more comfortable I become with “eyeballing” my portions. Guess what? Those portions have gotten significantly  bigger since I stopped actually measuring.

Now, I’m not saying you need to bring your measuring cups and spoons to someone’s backyard bbq, weirdo. I might judge you for that. Instead, screenshot the picture below.  This is a great guide to “eyeballing” your serving size.

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Track Everything

If you haven’t already downloaded an app to track your food intake, jump over to the app store (or Google play for you Android people) and do it. One of the easiest ways to overeat is by not tracking your food. On the days that I just “wing it” I find that I end up eating 5-10 extra points easily. When I track everything, it gives me that extra accountability I need, as well as letting me know how many calories/points I have left for the day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve guessed how many points were in a dish, ate it, and when I went to track it later, I was shocked at how much it actually cost me! Don’t make that mistake! Check in your app how much a dish is, and build your plate accordingly.

A couple of our favorite tracking apps are:

Ultimate Food Value Diary for you point-tracking peeps

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and

My Fitness Pal for those of you that prefer to track calories

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In the app store, Ultimate Food Value Diary is just under $4, and My Fitness Pal is free. Both of those prices should fit most budgets. If you’ve been following our blog, you know that Melinda and I track points, and Corrinne tracks calories. Find what works for you and stick with it! Tracking points is easier to me, and spending the one-time $4 on the UFVD app is much less expensive that joining WW. If calories work for you, it doesn’t get much cheaper than free! Download an app, and get tracking! You might be shocked at how many calories you actually eat in a day. I know I was.

Volunteer

Another great way to make sure you have some low-cal/point options is by bringing them yourself! There are hundreds of recipes on Pinterest (and a few we’ve featured here on the blog) that you could make for whatever party you’re headed to. Plus, what host/hostess doesn’t love a guest that helps share the load? If you bring a dish, you know you’re guaranteed that at least one thing there will be good for you! This pasta salad is a great side dish that everyone loves- whether they’re watching what they eat or not!

I use Wacky Mac veggie noodles, black olives, cherry tomatoes, and some chopped salami. Top it all with a bit of lite Italian dressing and shredded parm. Delicious and easy!

Another quick and easy healthy side are these caprese skewers. 3 ingredients coming in at just 70 calories a skewer! Yes please! Mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and the best balsamic drizzle ever.

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To eat or not to eat…as much of

So you’re at a bbq. What should you load up on and what should you only have an itty bit of? Those potluck dishes can be tricky! You’d be surprised (or maybe not) about the amount of calories that can be packed into a “salad.” Watch out for things that look like they’re made with a lot of heavy dressings (mayo, creams, etc..) For instance, a single serving of 7-layer salad can pack 200 calories! In a:

  • 1 Cup serving of Potato salad: 357 cal.
  • 1 Cup serving of cole slaw: 291 cal.
  • Typical Cheeseburger: 303 cal.
  • 1 oz. serving of potato chips: 152 cal.

Some of the most common bbq foods really pack a lot of fat! Instead of loading up on potato salad, chips, and burgers, try grilling chicken, making my delicious pasta salad, and a fruit salad for dessert! Simple swaps like that, or even just shrinking your portions a bit can really make a difference!

Relax

A holiday like the 4th can really set you back if you let it, but it shouldn’t consume you all day! If you go over your calorie/point limit, don’t let it be the end of the world! Try your best to make a plan and stick to it, but if you indulge a bit, don’t beat yourself up! Have fun with your family and friends! Maybe suggest taking a walk after dinner to burn some of those calories! Remember to enjoy yourself. Balance is so important. We hope you have a fantastic weekend with your family and friends! We’ll see you back here on Friday for Friday Favorites.

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