How do you plan to spend your Memorial Day weekend? Are you stressed out because you know that long weekends usually lead to having to go up a notch on your belt? Well, I have some tips to help you stop worrying so much about it.
Long weekends don’t have to equal weight gain and inactivity. You can still treat yourself to BBQ and beer in moderation while having tons of fun by increasing your physical activity.
When I was younger, I used to celebrate Memorial Day weekend by binge-eating on burgers and drinking as much beer as possible. Don’t get me wrong—I have great memories, but my life is quite a bit different now. These days I fill my long weekends with activities that are fun and good for my health. Here are some healthy ideas that can help you have a great long weekend:
— Shop early and wisely. If family and friends will be joining you for a BBQ this weekend, go to the grocery store before the crowds. This will make the experience far less stressful…and we know that stress can lead to binge-eating. Plus, if you’re too rushed, you usually end up getting less healthy options, I find.
Prepare a list before you go shopping, especially when it comes to the snacks you plan on bringing with you to the cottage or for your BBQ. Putting more thought into snacks, like planning to make a veggie tray with hummus or getting an assortment of nuts and seeds to nibble on, can help you avoid just snatching a few bags of chips as you race through the aisles.
Getting to the store ahead of the crowds also gives you a better chance of getting the freshest fruits and veggies available before they get too picked over. And remember—pick lean meats to use on the grill! Try turkey kebobs for a change. Or go for some super-healthy fats, like fresh salmon.
— Maximize your outside time. This weekend I plan on getting outside every day for some exercise—and I recommended you do the same. Go for an extended walk throughout your neighborhood on Friday; try walking to a restaurant for brunch or dinner on Saturday and explore a nearby town (on foot!) on Sunday. On Monday, walk over to a friend’s place. Wherever you decide to go, make sure to see some sights on foot this weekend.
— Enjoy the food, but don’t go crazy. If you’re in another town, or out for a long walk, you’ll inevitably get a little hungry. If the plan is to get a meal, then do it! Don’t let a diet control your life—especially on the long weekend. Just make sure you eat sensibly. Order a healthy meal with more vegetables than protein or starch; avoid getting a big plate of fries and stick to only one drink (if you choose alcohol).
Go easy on the soda; have one or two on the weekend, but choose water or mineral water with citrus fruit added to satisfy your thirst the rest of the time. The same goes for any BBQs you attend or host; eat sensibly by avoiding filling your plate with too many high-calorie options—creamy potato salads, creamy coleslaw, desserts—and focus on fruits, veggies, and limiting yourself to one serving of the main dish.
Have a happy—and healthy—long weekend!