Survive all the summer barbecues and parties and stay in The Zone all season with these tips and tricks.
By Sue Knorr:
It’s June and you have three birthday parties, two graduation cookouts and a beach picnic. OMG – How are you going to stay on The Zone with all these food-laden gatherings coming up? You don’t dare think about July until you sit down and make a healthy eating plan for your summer.
Instead of abandoning The Zone until Fall, use these tips and tricks to make it easy to enjoy the parties and stay on track with your plan:
Decide to be Healthy at the Beginning of the Party
Appetizers can be the beginning of either a healthy meal or the complete undoing of your Zone efforts. Choose wisely. Protein-rich foods such as small cheese cubes and shrimp are an excellent place to start.
Compliment them with fresh cut veggies dipped in hummus or guacamole. Add a few almonds, macadamia nuts or peanuts, but pass on the trail mix and highly salted and sweetened nuts. By starting your meal with a bit of protein, you will be less likely to over-eat later. You may even find that eating these foods and some salad (a staple at summer parties) will be quite enough so you can relax and not be tempted once dessert is served. Now, that’s a win!
Staying Hydrated Can Make you Less Likely to Over-eat
Enjoy still or sparkling water, and if you like, splurge with a small glass of a light sangria. Fruit juices, regular and diet sodas, and artificially sweetened drinks are better left in the cooler. You may think you are choosing a healthy alternative if you drink so-called diet drinks, but in reality, they spike your insulin levels because your brain can’t tell the difference between real and artificial sugar. This causes you to over-eat later because the extra insulin removes too much glucose from your blood and your brain signals you to eat more to get the energy it needs. If you feel you really must indulge in a beer or glass of wine, don’t forget to always have a protein “chaser” by making sure to eat a protein-rich snack to offset the high carbohydrates and sugar the alcohol contains.
Make the Most of the Meaty Choices from the Grill
Look for chicken breasts, lean cuts of beef, or grass-fed beef, pork, shrimp, scallops and fish. Although wild caught fish has more omega 3s than farm-raised fish, you should still be aware that it may contain some heavy metals, and other ocean contaminants. For this reason, your best bet is to go with the poultry or a lean grass-fed meat which is higher in omega-3s than conventional beef. Avoid fattier selections such as chicken thighs, hot dogs, kielbasa and sausage, as well as anything slathered with a lot of sauce because these will throw you out of the Zone. Take advantage of grilled fresh veggies. Romaine lettuce that’s been drizzled with olive oil and charred on the grill is especially good, and easy to grill.
Pile Your Plate High with Vegetable Sides and Salads
Select a variety of the most colorful and freshest looking vegetables on the table. The more of these you eat the more satisfied you’ll feel, and you’ll be giving your body a serving of beneficial polyphenols. If you aren’t eating at least two pounds of vegetables every day (and not many people do) you can take Zone MaquiRx. Raw or lightly steamed vegetables are preferable to heavy casseroles swimming in cream sauce and oil. Choose olive oil and vinegar or bottled low fat, low sugar dressings for garden salads. Avoid most fat-free dressings. Manufacturers often add extra sugar to make up for the flavor that is removed when the fat is taken out of these dressings.
Search out the Berries on the Dessert Table
Choose moderate amounts of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, the best of the best fruits for the Zone because of their lower sugar content. Think of the chips, popcorn, candy and baked goodies as festive table decorations. They’ll work against your best efforts and send you home with a huge carbohydrate hangover. The same goes for melons and tropical fruits because they are very high in sugar.
Plan B to the Rescue
Use this classic Zone trick for eating healthy when there’s simply no good choice to be made. Have a burger and discard one half of the bun. Top it with your favorite
condiments. Load the rest of your plate to overflowing with garden salad. Pass on the potato and macaroni salads, baked beans, and buttered corn on the cob, or choose a small portion of one of those items.
Bring a Zone-friendly Salad as Your Contribution to the Party
Here’s a Zone version of an easy recipe that’s making the rounds this season. Pair it with a protein portion to make a full Zone meal.
- 2 tbsb Dr. Sears’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Lime (juiced)
- 3 tbsb Vinegar
- 1 ½ to 2 tsp Agave syrup
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- 2 Zucchinis (chopped)
- ½ cup Grape tomatoes
- ¾ cup Red cabbage (chopped)
- ¼ cup Basil leaves (chopped)
- ¼ cup Corn
- 1 cup Broccoli (chopped)
- Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, agave syrup, and salt and pepper.
- Toss this dressing with the vegetables.
Remember, no one’s perfect, and as Dr. Sears always says, You’re only one meal away from being in The Zone.”