Summer is the time for baseball games, backyard BBQ’s and pool parties! What do all of these events have in common? Other than the fact that they are a ton of fun, they are also filled with tempting and unhealthy food choices! It gets difficult to follow the standard 80/20 rule where there are so many opportunities to fall off the wagon. When balance is no longer an option, we must use other principles such as planning, preparing and adaptation to make the best of those situations. Here are some ways to ensure that you can stay in control this summer while making the most of each event!

Don’t Show Up Starving: Eat a balanced snack (high in protein and fiber) before leaving in order to avoid being over hungry and losing control when you are presented with food.

Pack Smart: Bring a water bottle (or a few) along with you and make sure you drink it. This will keep your appetite in control as well as prevent you from drinking beverages filled with empty calories.

Don’t Go Empty Handed: Bring the veggie tray! If you are unsure about what will be served at the event, bring a healthy snack for everyone to enjoy! Not only does this show respect to your hosts, it also guarantees that you have a healthy snack to fill up on if your options are limited.

Fill Your Plate with Good Stuff: Focus on high protein foods such as ground beef patties, hard boiled eggs, nuts/seeds and aged cheeses. Also, don’t forget to make the majority of your plate veggies/salad if it’s available!

Think First: A few minutes of rational thought about what you are reaching for and how much is enough to save you from discomfort and regret. When looking at food selection, try to pause and contemplate how you will feel after eating certain items. Once you have thought about the potential outcomes, make your choices.

Eat Slow: Eat your meal slowly, enjoying every bite. This not only improves digestion, it also gives you a more satisfying eating experience, preventing you from piling food into your mouth without thinking and then wanting more.

Evaluate If You Really Need Seconds: Once you are finished eating, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize whether or not it is full, so wait before considering going for seconds. Then ask yourself: “Am I willing to eat veggies right now?” If the answer is yes, you are probably actually hungry so go ahead and choose something nutritious.

Location, Location, Location: Where you set yourself up at a party is crucial to your caloric intake. Have your chair as far away from the snack table as possible to avoid the temptation of mindlessly eating during a conversation.

Don’t Deprive Yourself Completely: Moderation is key. Try a very small helping of those “forbidden foods” instead of a large one. This is a good rule for dessert as sugar is highly addictive. Whether you eat a lot or a little you will still crave more of it when you are done. So why not get the satisfaction of having a small bite and then fill up on something else?

Distract Yourself with Something Physical: Go for a walk, join the baseball game or jump in the pool! The more involved you are in something, the less your brain will focus on the tempting goodies that are surrounding you. Also, exercise has been shown to have an appetite suppressing effect and increase serotonin levels (our “happy hormone”), helping to decrease cravings.

Supplement Suggestions:The following supplements are meant to help control blood sugar levels as well as lead to feelings of fullness and reduce cravings! Consider PGX Fibre, Chromium, Green Coffee Bean, Garcinia Cambogia, 5-HTP and L-glutamine.

HEALTHY BBQ SUGGESTIONS:

Sprouted, Whole Grain Buns – Has Higher protein & fibre content as well as enhanced digestibility.

Grass-Fed Beef - Contains an optimal anti-inflammatory omega 3 to 6 ratio! It is also a great natural source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which has been shown to lower insulin resistance and increase metabolism.

Homemade Condiments - Try making your own sauces/spreads/marinades/dressings from scratch using a combination of tomato paste, olive oil, balsamic/apple cider vinegar, raw honey/molasses, organic soy seasoning, herbs and spices!

Veggie Overload - Use organic vegetables and fermented foods as toppings, such as kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles! Serve plenty of fresh salads and/or try roasting various veggies on the grill like squash, sweet potatoes, and asparagus!

Sugar-Free Drinks - If you get sick of water, try sipping on a stevia/xylitol sweetened beverage, fruit infused or coconut water!

Healthy Snacks - Munch on things like kale chips, trail mix and choose healthy dips like hummus, baba ganoush, salsa and guacamole!

Fruit Dessert – Create an organic fruit-based dessert made with coconut cream, dark chocolate and nut butters (like frozen fruit “nice” cream, fruit salad or popsicles!)

A New Way of Cooking - Consider using a Himalayan salt block on the grill for added taste, nutrition and creativity!

This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.

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About Good n’ Natural

Good n Natural

Good n’ Natural started as a small-family owned business in 1994. Our team has grown and diversified to include Certified Natural Product Advisers, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and a part-time Naturopathic Doctor. Our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower our customers to pursue a healthy lifestyle in order to achieve their wellness goals and in turn build a stronger community.

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