Happy postholiday re-entry into life!  Now the the smoke has cleared — literally, from July 4th festivities it’s time to get back to your normal, healthy way of living and eating.  Is ok to indulge over a holiday?  Yes — is my standard answer.  However,  I follow it up with as long as your holiday isn’t a WHOLE month.   I know, I know, Europeans do it and seem to fare ok, but in the U.S. we seem to back slide into weight gain oblivion if we attempt to forego our eating schedule, food logs and meal planning — it just wreaks havoc on the waistline!  

So for summer waistline survival without denial, keep these tips in mind:

1) Always bring fruits and/or veggies to social gatherings – this way you know they’ll be there.  Put your fruit salad, crudite or roasted veggies on your plate before anything else.  Keep the “color your plate” mantra in your head whenever your are eating.   If your plate is too pale, it’s probably not that heart-healthy.  

2) Keep the week sacred.  Be mindful during the week, but allow some extras on weekends.  Even if you are on vacation – designated special days for indulgences and the rest of the time eat small meals and snacks on your regular schedule (every 3 – 4 hours).

3)  Go meatless at least one to two days a week.  I love the concept of “Meatless Mondays”- where you swap meat proteins for plant-based proteins at least one day of the week.  So add in tofu,  soybeans (edamame), nuts and quinoa into your meals that day and your won’t even miss the animal foods.  You will not only be getting more plant-nutrients, but a lot more fiber,  too!

4) Swap the salt for spices and herbs — too much salt in our diets can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain and dehydration.  Since the typical person (without high blood pressure) only needs about a teaspoon of salt (about 2,300 mg) everyday for the normal exchange of fluid inside and outside the cells, nerve impulses and blood pressure levels,  the key to flavor and excitement to meals is using herbs and spices.  Transform your dishes with cinnamon, basil, turmeric, curry, cumin and coriander for flavors that pop and also add health benefits to your plate.  Studies have shown that actual herbs and spices fend off inflammation,  keep the arterties clear and even keep  blood sugar from soaring too high.  

5) Keep hydrated…it’s so tempting to want to drink fruity cocktails and sugary soft drinks to quench your thirst, but steer clear as they only rob your body of fluids.  So stick with plain water (with bubbles is fine) with a twist of lemon or lime and/or unsweetened ice tea or coffee.  Although, caffeine is a diuretic, there is still fluid in coffee and tea –  so they count to keep your cells happy and healthy, too.

So, you can survive the summer in a healthy way!  Keep writing down what you’re eating,  drinking and doing.  I’d love to know your favorite summer survival secrets, too…