How to “Have your Cake and Eat it too” this 4th of July Weekend!
4th of July is right around the corner and many of us will be spending a little extra time with family and friends by the pool or at a cookout. Staying on track with your nutrition and fitness goals over a holiday weekend can be tough, so we’ve put together a few ideas to help make healthier choices a little bit easier this weekend.
- Change up your running routine and add a little extra fun! Time off work is a great opportunity to log extra mileage or run a virtual race. Get your running done early before it gets too hot, and so that you can enjoy the rest of the day relaxing or celebrating. Have fun with it and make it festive by dressing head to toe in red, white, and blue and even get your family involved for your own 4th of July 5K!
- Make “Healthy Swaps” throughout the day. If you’ve ever attended a cookout, you know how much temptation there is to overindulge in unhealthy options. Nutrition is all about balance and “choosing your battles”. The best way to enjoy yourself while feeling good is to pick and choose what you indulge in and make a healthy swap for everything else. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, hold out for the dessert table, and opt for healthier options during your main meal. Need some inspiration on “healthy swaps”? Here are a few of our favorites:
Swap Brats/Hot Dogs with Chicken Sausage or Turkey Hot Dogs Turkey and Chicken will be a leaner, healthier option compared to brats or regular hot dogs and you won’t have to sacrifice flavor. These can still be grilled and topped with your favorite condiments and eaten with or without the bun. Trader Joe’s has a great selection of chicken sausages such as spicy jalapeno, spicy Italian, smoked andouille, sweet apple with maple syrup, sun-dried tomato, and more!
- Swap Brats/Hot Dogs with Chicken Sausage or Turkey Hot Dogs . Turkey and Chicken will be a leaner, healthier option compared to brats or regular hot dogs and you won’t have to sacrifice flavor. These can still be grilled and topped with your favorite condiments and eaten with or without the bun. Trader Joe’s has a great selection of chicken sausages such as spicy jalapeno, spicy Italian, smoked andouille, sweet apple with maple syrup, sun-dried tomato, and more!Photo courtesy of Trader Joe’s. Nutrition information and recipe ideas can be found here: https://www.traderjoes.com/digin/Post/Post/organic-sweet-italian-chicken-sausage
- Skip the Bun! This is an easy way to make your meal lower in calories. Instead, load up on protein, fruits, and vegetables.
- Get your calories from food, not condiments. Sauces and other condiments are full of empty calories that really add up and do not make you full, especially BBQ sauce and Ketchup which are typically also high in sugar. Most serving sizes of these sauces are only a couple of tablespoons, so it can also be easy to get carried away. Instead of piling on the sauce, be mindful with how much you’re using or opt for lesser calorie condiments such as yellow mustard, hot sauce (Chili Lime Cholula is a great option), or pickles/relish. You can also swap out traditional sugary BBQ sauce and Ketchup for these lower calorie brands that taste just as good: Heinz No Sugar Added Ketchup or G. Hughes’ Sugar Free BBQ Sauce Selection that includes flavors such as Original, Hickory, Honey, Maple Brown, Mesquite, Sweet & Spicy, and more! G. Hughes’ also sells sugar free salad dressing and ketchup, too!Photo Courtesy of G Hughes’. Product information and product locator can be found here: https://www.ghughessugarfree.com/
- Craving extra sweets? Grab some fruit! If you’ve already had dessert and are hungry for more, head for the fruit platter. The natural sugars found in fruit will satisfy your cravings and taste great on a hot summer day. Watermelon, strawberries, and pineapple are great options and can be topped with low-fat Greek yogurt and/or a pack of Stevia for extra sweetness.
- Grill your veggies! You’re probably already throwing corn on the cob on the grill, but you can also add other veggies to the grill too! Whether it be ka-bob style or slightly charred, grilling vegetables adds a tasty spin to them. Cook until slightly charred and top with low calorie seasonings like Mrs. Dash or McCormick Chili Powder. If you’re adding butter to your corn on the cob, swap out regular butter for the brand I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which tastes great without all the extra calories.
- Skip the ‘slaw! Unless it’s your favorite, then eat it! But if you’re looking for a few foods to cut, coleslaws and potato salads are high calorie culprits that you can easily cut to save room for dessert.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff! No matter what your plans are this holiday weekend, relax, have fun, and enjoy it! If you eat one too many brownies or run 3 miles instead of 4, don’t sweat it. Enjoy your weekend and have a Happy 4th of July!
Written by Ashley Morrison
Ashley has over 17 years of running and racing experience and is both NASM CPT and RRCA Certified. For more running tips and tricks, find Ashley at Run With Ashley on Instagram or on her website and blog.