Tips for managing summer patio culture.
In Colorado, we have a patio culture that starts in the spring as the lilacs and hyacinths bloom and lasts all the way until Halloween rain and snowfall. Especially this year, when outside gatherings have been the safest option. People are excited to extend the living room outside, to kick back and catch up.
What does this mean for weight loss? It’s good and it’s bad.
Spring/summer/fall is filled with fresh veggies that are not in season during winter. We tend to crave more crunchy fresh veggies with dip and salads beginning in April. It’s easier to eat raw when it’s warmer outside. Fresh fruits and veggies are more appealing during the warmer months when they are naturally available, in season and look delicious at the market. They’re easier to buy and to offer to friends and family on the patio table. Think hummus and veggies, fruits and yogurt dip and more delicious combos.
Although fruits and vegetables are more readily available, we still tend to gravitate towards chips and salsa and sugary drinks (strawberry margaritas, anyone?) to pair with our gatherings. It could be the convenience, the salt or just the habit.
The Weight Loss Struggle
Because of increased socializing and schedule variability, weight loss tends to be harder in warmer months. When life picks up, with loosened COVID restrictions and increased vaccinations, we’ll soon have peanuts, popcorn and beer at baseball games, snacks at outdoor bars, picnics at outdoor concerts and yes, cheese and crackers, chips and salsa and all the dips at backyard happy hours. Even though we know summer shorts, tank tops and cute skirt season is coming and our intentions are good, this doesn’t always translate to action.
What to do?
First, manage your food and drinks. Instead of trying to STOP the outdoor social culture, let’s embrace the culture and better manage our food offerings.
- Plan your week for when your celebrations will be. If you’re meeting with friends on Thursday, eat for fuel on Mon/Tues and Wed.
- Plan your day. If you’re going to drink your calories while you’re out with friends, try to choose wisely earlier in the day and plan for after. If you leave it to chance, that’s when things go awry.
- Not all drinks are created equal. Often, too many calories and particularly carbohydrates are a problem in weight loss efforts. A margarita is sugary and an expensive splurge (50-100-ish grams/carbs per drink). A skinny margarita (tequila, lime juice and club soda) is more tart, less sugary but very delicious and much better for weight loss (17-ish grams/carbs per drink). Another example would be craft beer (range 1-30 grams/carbs) vs. a vodka soda with a lime (0 carbs per drink).
- Make smart food choices. Processed food is easy — open a bag and you’re done. Real food might require washing, chopping and throwing a couple of ingredients together (think chopped celery, carrots, snap peas with guacamole made from avocado, red onion, tomato, lime juice and paprika). Eating real food is a bit more work, but also really fresh and delicious. It’s much better than chips and a small amount of work for a big health pay off. Short on time? Nobody is saying you can’t get help. Your market makes fresh guac and has pre-cut veggies. It’s buy this NOT that.
If you think ahead and put forth the effort, you can offer delicious whole food and lower carb drinks and enjoy your social time while NOT blowing your healthy food framework. We have pretty strong opinions about how the patio entertaining should go. We’re happy to share them with you and help set your spring and summer weight loss plan up for success.
For more info on blood sugar balance, good energy or feeling your best through smarter food choices, please contact our holistic nutritionists. It’s a personal puzzle and we can assist in figuring out what’s best for your body.