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Celebrating July 4th Smartly: A Dietitian’s Top 5 Tips!

Updated: Jul 1


Introduction:

Holidays like July 4th are synonymous with barbecues and picnics that include indulgent treats. This can pose challenges for those trying to eat in a particular way to support their health goals. Whether it’s for weight loss, to lower cholesterol or manage an autoimmune disease, the social pressures and expectations of holidays can be tricky. The good news is that they aren’t impossible.


In this post, you’ll learn that with a bit of forethought, you can not only plan meals that support your goals this July 4th, but can navigate social gatherings without fear of judgment so that the holiday is more enjoyable!



WHY HOLIDAYS ARE SO MENTALLY HARD!


When I first start coaching clients, they tell me that past holidays are downright mentally hard! Maybe you can relate? How many times have you attended a large gathering where you feel judged by what or how much you are eating? And since holidays are typically associated with indulgence, there’s an immense amount of pressure to partake in July 4th traditions. Before you know it, you’ve got a JELL-O shot in your hand and you don’t even drink! 


What’s worse is that holidays disrupt your daily routine and provide little structure to the day, which can throw you off of your eating schedule. Lack of routine can equate to over eating when you unconsciously skipped breakfast and lunch and are starving by dinner. Before you know it, you’re loading up on Aunt Flo’s famous pineapple upside down cake instead of the planned protein and veggies! 


SO WHAT DO YOU DO?


You may feel it necessary to pass on social events when you’re trying to eat a certain way. It’s just easier not to put yourself in a situation where you’ll binge and feel guilty for it later on, but avoidance is NOT the answer! 


You may feel like if you restrict calories earlier in the day, you can “save” them for your July 4th celebration. Only overcompensation is NOT the answer! 


The goal is to never hide out at home for fear of blowing your diet or show up starving to an event because you didn’t eat all day. 


When coaching clients, my goal is to help them achieve a level of social confidence that allows them to make nutritious choices without guilt “and” feel included in all of the holiday hype! 


Turkish poached eggs

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER!


Holidays like July 4th feel so hard because you are likely working too hard to try and craft the “perfect” plan to stick to your diet. This year, follow these 5 smart and simple TIPS instead.


  1. Stick to the TIMING of your breakfast. The first meal of the day sets the tone for a lot of things. Breakfast helps you sustain energy, manage sugar cravings and manage your mood. If you normally eat breakfast at 8:00 AM on a daily basis, try and keep breakfast on July 4th as close to that time as possible. Think about managing your nutrition starting at the beginning of the day, or “from the top down!”

  2. Keep a good pace of meals throughout the day. This means NO SKIPPING MEALS. If it is noon and you’re headed to a barbecue at 3:00 PM, you are eating lunch instead of skipping lunch. Let’s face it, even if you get to the barbeque on time, you rarely eat at the exact time that you arrive. Chances are you are eating closer to the 4 o’clock hour. This equates to 4 hours in between lunch and the next meal, which is great timing to help nourish your body and regulate your blood sugar.

  3. If hosting - feed you too! Raised Italian, I was taught that taking care of your family and guests first is just part of being a good hostess. While this is true to some degree, trying to enjoy a party while you’re starving is no fun, and it stands in the way of creating fun memories with those you love the most. Take care of others, but don’t wait too long to take care of yourself. Plate your meal and sit down and enjoy it with your guests, rather than waiting until after everyone has left for the day. Regardless if you are hosting or just making a dish to take to a celebration, ensure that what you are making is something you can safely enjoy. This means that if you have food sensitivities or allergies that the dish you share is aligned with your dietary needs. If you have to eat gluten free, for example, you may prepare a charcuterie board or veggie and bean salad to share. This way, if there is little else at the party that is safe for you, you can rely on the dish you prepared. Looking for a healthy crowd pleaser to feed you and your besties? Try my Vegan Sloppy Joes Easily doubled for a crowd, this recipe is great paired with a bun or side with tortilla chips. It’s packed with protein, and tastes just like traditional Sloppy Joe!

  4. Practice saying “NOT RIGHT NOW.” People mean well, and their need to push food or drink onto you, from their perspective, is an act of love and caring. However, saying yes to things you know won’t serve your body physically or mentally is not the right way to love yourself. It is perfectly okay to say no thank you. Practice saying “no thank you - not right now.” This lets others know that you still “might” be in the market for what they are offering later. No one needs to know that your intention is to pass completely.

  5. Start with veggies. Starting the meal with veggies has some really great advantages. Aside from all of the awesome nutrients veggies offer, they are high in fiber. Fiber, especially soluble fiber, slows digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. This leads to a gradual release of glucose (aka sugar) into the bloodstream preventing rapid spikes into blood sugar levels. Fiber promotes satiety, keeping you feeling fuller longer, which can help address snacking and grazing. Try this delicious Loaded Chickpea Salad which provides 7 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein per half cup.


A Final Note

Remember that your job is not to focus so much on managing your nutrition that it stands in the way of having a good time this July 4th. Likewise, your job is not to completely forget about your nutrition, so much so that you blow your diet completely out of the water, and want to start over the following Monday! 


Try these TIPS and observe how much easier it is to honor the way you need to eat for your body. If you feel like you are still on the struggle bus, book a free 30-minute strategy call with me HERE so that you can get the support you need! 


Amanda Liptak

Hi, I'm Amanda!


Functional weight loss coach, registered dietitian nutritionist and mom of one picky eater with multiple food allergies! I'm a big believer that if you can learn to fish -- you can eat for life! So this blog is dedicated to helping you learn to toss out the food myths that result in unnecessary food stress so that you can become a confident, healthy eater!






 




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Guest
Jul 03

Great tips!!

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