Welcome to the weekend, when you meet up for drinks with your friends, go out to lunch with your mother – and fling your direction on responsible eating out the window. After having an eye on what you intake all week, it is a natural response to want to indulge on the weekend. Once you allow yourself a “cheat”, it’s natural to lose control and to reverse the progress that you’ve made all week. Here are some tips to staying on your meal plan over the weekend.
FRIDAY: Dinner Out with Friends
You may feel like bad company if you pick at a salad, but you might feel worse if you fill up on burgers and wings.
- Invite a friend along with similar goals: If you invite someone to join the group who shares your goals, you will consume less. If several friends are meeting for dinner, invite someone who has similar goals to stay on track.
- Ask to order first: To avoid being swayed by someone’s Hot Wing and Blue Cheese Salad order, be the first to order.
- Know when to say no. Once your entree arrives, switch to a nonalcoholic beverage or pass on the bread basket.
FRIDAY: Watching a Movie with your Kids
You should have gone to bed an hour ago and now you find yourself hungry and looking in the pantry. If it is four or more hours since you last ate, you’re likely to be hungry.
Do crunches When all you crave is chips or chocolate, a banana or a rice cake with peanut butter might not hit your craving. Try to munch on crisp veggies like carrots, sugar snap peas, or apples. You can also opt for light microwave popcorn. Three cops of light popcorn, sans butter, will add up to only 100 calories.
Pick a movie that’s riveting. Watching something that keeps your attention will allow you to eat 44% less than if you were distracted. According to a study by the Smell and Taste Treatment Foundation, when you’re not paying attention to the way a food tastes or smells, the sensory satiety center in your brain isn’t triggered, and you’ll keep eating.
SATURDAY: Doing Chores at Home
When you’re at home – doing chores around the house, spending time with your family, and hanging out with friends, your day tends to have less structure, making trips to the kitchen easier and more accessible. It is important to identify whether your body needs fuel and nutrition, or whether you may be bored.
Serve in the kitchen and eat in another room. When you’re ready for a snack or an in-between meal fuel up, put your snack on a plate and take it to another room. Snack smarter. Adding a bit of healthy fat to your favorite snack will fill you up faster. For instance, if you like pretzels, place a few on a plate with a side of hummus or low-fat peanut butter.
Make a small meal. Instead of a snack, eating small meals several times a day makes more sense. Snacking when you’re seriously hungry is counterintuitive. You will likely eat more calories than you realize and still not feel satisfied. Better to feed your growling stomach half a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread and some carrots or half of a protein bar.
SATURDAY: A Friend’s Birthday Party
Being a guest at someone’s house can pose a real dilemma for an individual who is trying to eat healthfully. There is less control over the menu and you may want to avoid offending the host when you turn down food that they offer.
Eat before you meet. It’s tempting to skip lunch in anticipation of a large meal, but that can lend to overeating. Eat a regular lunch instead and your afternoon snack and you’ll find it easier to avoid the dessert table.
Steal from the veggie tray. If the main meal is something that may not be on your meal plan, such as a large steak or a huge lasagna, fill up on salad or vegetables.
SATURDAY: Drinks After the Party
After the party, you’re in the mood to unwind and friends invite you out for “just a drink.” It is helpful to keep in mind that drinking lends easily to eating. Alcohol can increase your appetite and lowers blood sugar.
Go solo. Sharing a pitcher of beer with the guys may seem more economical, but you may be better off by ordering a glass of your favorite craft brew. You are less likely to lose sign of how much you’re consuming and are able to enjoy a drink that you really like.
Avoid the bar snacks. If you seem to be magnetically drawn to bar snacks or appetizers, place the menu upside down or seek out a conversation with someone new.
SUNDAY NIGHT SCRAMBLE
The weekend is finally over. You still have chores to finish, emails to send and work to catch up on before Monday morning. This is the perfect time to make a mistake in your meal plan and if you stayed on target all weekend, you might decide this is the perfect time to “cheat”. Avoid the temptation to pig out and start fresh tomorrow.
Go hot. You can’t pig out on a snack in 2 minutes that is steaming hot, so go slow with your hot snack, like a chopped-up apple microwaved and sprinkled with cinnamon,
Ice cream oblivion. If ice cream in the freezer is speaking to you, avoid the call. Now is not the time to test your willpower by only “eating a spoonful” as you tell yourself you’ll hit cardio in the morning. Opt for a snack that has an individual serving or a treat that is individually wrapped.
Make sure you get enough sleep. People can often eat in response to boredom, exhaustion, frustration, or emotions, when rest is the thing that is really needed. End your weekend on a high note and start your Monday on the right foot.