Submitted Date 05/21/2019

It can be hard to stick to a diet during those sweltering summer months. Every weekend it seems there's a cookout, barbecue, picnic or party. Not to mention holidays, birthdays, weddings and baby showers. So how do you maintain your healthy lifestyle while still enjoying the summer festivities?

1. BYOS (Bring Your Own Salads)
Bring your own healthy foods to gatherings so you have something nutritious to snack on. Bringing two salads ensures you'll have some variety while encouraging others to dig in to your delicious diet foods too.

Green Salads
Hand tenderize chopped kale, then drain and add chopped cilantro, lemon juice and minced garlic, if you prefer, for a super healthy green salad. Mix cooked bulgur wheat, millet or quinoa with chopped parsley, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste for homemade tabbouleh. Add chopped tomatoes and real or turkey bacon bits to chopped romaine lettuce for a BLT salad. Add reduced fat blue cheese crumbles and chopped hard boiled eggs to the BLT salad for a Cobb salad.

Other Salads
Add drained tuna in water (not oil) to gluten-free or whole wheat pasta with vegan or lite real mayo and salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Substitute chicken for tuna or add chopped hard boiled eggs, if you prefer. Toss chopped or cherry tomatoes with chopped fresh mozzarella or mozzarella "pearls," and salt and pepper to taste and a light drizzle of olive oil. Add fresh basil and balsamic vinegar, or drizzle with balsamic reduction, if you prefer.

Salsas and Dips
Bring fresh guacamole, baba ganoush (eggplant) or artichoke dip and bean, root veggie or plantain chips. Avoid potato and corn chips. Mix diced tomato and onion with chopped cilantro and minced garlic and jalapeño for fresh pico de gallo, or tomato salsa. Substitute fresh fruit like diced mango or pineapple for refreshing fruit salsa. Or sub in black beans and roasted corn for smokey Tex-Mex salsa. Blend soaked and drained cashews with sesame seed tahini and preferred spices for low carb, bean-free hummus.

Fruit Salads
Chop and toss your favorite fruits, minus bananas and apples that oxidize and brown quickly, for a fresh fruit salad. Chop watermelon or strawberries and toss with chiffoned or minced mint for a cool fruit salad surprise.

2. Diet Drinks
Ditch those sugary sodas and drink sugar and sugar substitute-free flavored seltzers instead. Go for low calorie, low sugar "alco-pop," wine coolers or wine spritzers that have recently come on the market. Add healthy frozen yogurt to your fizzy drinks for some fun floats. Unsweetened flavored iced tea is also a great choice.

3. Healthy Choices
If you're going to an event empty handed and plan to eat whatever is prepared, stay low carb, low sugar and high nutrition. Make the healthiest choices from what you have. Eat green veggies, fresh fruit, and grilled meats without the bun. Skip the rolls, biscuits, tortillas, pita, potato salad, baked potatoes, french fries and corn on the cob. Stay away from diet sodas unless they are sweetened with only stevia or monk fruit extract. Erythritol and xylitol sweetened drinks are okay in moderation.

If you make these diet decisions consistently you'll see the outcome of your good choices by summer's end. Your hard work won't be for naught and you can continue those good decisions into the winter holiday season.

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  • Kiersten Felch 1 year, 11 months ago

    Good tips that I try to follow in my daily life.

  • Cheryl Krause 1 year, 11 months ago

    If you want to splurge at a party but need help with self control.....eat before you go. When you've got a belly full of greens, carrots and celery it's so much easier to be satisfied with small portions. Want a great dip? Take nonfat or 1% cottage cheese for a whirl in the food processor with fresh herbs. You'll have a delicious and low-fat, low cal but high protein dip for carrots, celery, or broccoli. Don't tell your friends what's in it and they will love it too!

  • David Ross Washington Jr 1 year, 11 months ago
  • David Ross Washington Jr 1 year, 11 months ago

    grilled meats
    Definitely the best tips for family gathering is meat. If it's a BBQs, grilled meat without the sauce. If it's not, having some friend chicken is better than a lot of the other choices. There's this book called this or that, and it's about making the best healthy decision of your options. It's like the lesser of two evils. It's better to have a protein-based food than anything else. So even though its' fried, at least you're getting protein out of it, than a more heavier carb-filled milled with sauces, cheeses, etc.

  • Miranda Fotia 1 year, 10 months ago

    Great advice! Thanks for sharing!