5 Tips to Help You Stay on Track and Still Enjoy the 4th of July

5 Tips to Help You Stay on Track and Still Enjoy the 4th of July Photo from JillWellington at Pixabay

It really has been a weird year, huh? COVID has definitely made things a little different, but you haven't let that get you down! 

You've taken some steps to make your health a priority.

You've been eating better. You're sticking to a workout plan. And life is good!

But with July 4th right around the corner, you're met with the ultimate Catch-22…

You start thinking about the holiday, and what's ultimately going to end up on your plate at the barbecue. 

Because let's be real... What's a 4th of July celebration without all the good food to look forward to? 

Are you thinking about your aunt's world-famous mac and cheese? Your uncle's perfectly seasoned ribs with the secret sauce? Or maybe, it's your mom's ooey gooey double chocolate fudge brownies?

I'll give you a second to wipe the drool from the side of your mouth. It's okay, I need a second too! 

Okay, we're back. Talk about temptation though! With a list like that, it can be easy to go overboard and ditch your diet.

You just want to enjoy the holiday, let your hair down, and maybe even indulge a little bit… But the last thing you want to do is erase all the progress you've made.

So if you're looking for some help to stay on track with your diet but still enjoy the holiday, give these 5 pro tips a try:

Plan Ahead 

You just got to the barbecue and your stomach's growling louder than Mufasa in the Lion King. 

Forget self-control at this point! You just need something to eat… And ASAP!

You didn't think to plan ahead, and now you're really struggling with how to stick to your diet.

But it's a lot easier to resist temptation when you're prepared. And you can prevent a situation like this from happening to you by planning ahead. How though?

Try eating a healthy meal beforehand, or make some healthy snacks ahead of time to bring with you to the celebration. 

By the time the barbecue rolls around and your mind is telling you to reach for the chips and dip, you'll be able to have a little more self-control. It'll make things easier for you if you have something in your stomach or some healthy options you can go with.

Sources of lean protein and foods rich in fiber will keep you feeling fuller for longer, which can help you fight off temptation.

Lean Protein Sources:
    • Chicken or turkey breast
    • Egg whites 
    • White fish
    • Lean ground beef
    • Pork loin
    • Low-fat Greek yogurt

Foods Rich in Fiber:
    • Oats
    • Sweat Potatoes
    • Quinoa
    • Brown Rice
    • Beans or lentils
    • Vegetables

Eat The Green Stuff (Veggies) First

Keep calm and fill up on veggies first.

Seriously though, start off with veggies (I know this might be hard!) before the ribs, hot dogs, or even chips.

Vegetables are the ultimate cheat code when it comes to curbing hunger and staying on track with your diet. Since veggies are low in calorie density, eating a ton of veggies won't cost you many calories.

And having foods that are high in volume but low in calories can help make staying on track with your diet that much easier. 

Remember tip #1 and the list of fiber-rich foods? Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, beets, and artichokes are all super-rich in fiber.

So, if you think about it, filling up on veggies first takes care of two problems with one solution. 

You get to make the Jolly Green Giant proud. On top of that, you're getting a lot of fiber in your diet and staying full. 

It's a win-win.

Portion Control & Moderation

Life's all about balance, am I right?

So far, we've talked about planning and making healthy choices. 

But if we don't give ourselves a break to enjoy the foods we really love, sticking with a diet long-term will probably be pretty hard!

Let me ask you this, what are your top 3 must-have foods for the 4th of July?

For me, I'd have to go with ribs (I'd put my dad's ribs up against anyone's!), mac and cheese, and then baked beans. 

Have your list together? Okay...

So when you go to the 4th of July celebration, you're simply going to have the three things on your list.

Don't think about anything else. Don't feel guilty for it, or like you're cheating on your diet. 

This is a time for you to live in the moment (just a little) and enjoy some of your favorite foods. Your diet will still be there when you get done. 

The key here is eating in moderation and making sure not to go overboard with it.

So enjoy the food, savor it...But do so with the big picture in mind!

Be Mindful Of Liquid Calories

If you want to save some major calories over the holiday weekend, try swapping out your favorite fruity drink with a few glasses of water. 

Besides helping you stay hydrated (because who wants to feel all hot and clammy like that in the middle of a barbecue?), drinking water has a laundry list of other health benefits

If you decide to have an adult beverage or two, just keep in mind that virtually any alcoholic drink you choose is going to be high in calories.

And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there really isn't any nutritional value in alcohol. I'm sorry, I'm just the messenger!

Vodka has the least amount of calories, so reach for that instead, if you want a healthier option when it comes to alcohol. You can try mixing it with a zero or low-calorie beverage to save on some more calories.

Get A Workout In Before The Celebration

Getting a workout in prior to all the festivities can motivate and encourage you to stay on track for the rest of the day.

If you want the most bang-for-your-workout-buck, give HIIT a try!

HIIT workouts can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. 

Through what's known as the "afterburn effect," HIIT workouts have also been shown to help you burn calories even after you're done working out.

Give some of our partners like Les Mills, JETSWEAT, or FORTË a try if you're looking for some dynamic and high-energy HIIT workouts!

Final Thoughts

The 4th of July is a time to celebrate, but that doesn't mean you have to fall off the diet wagon. 

You don't have to sit on the sidelines and miss out on all the fun.

Use the tips above to celebrate, enjoy the holiday, and most importantly, have some good food (in moderation of course)! 

All while staying on track with your diet and fitness goals.