Summertime and the livin’ is…busy. With events around every corner like weddings, barbecues, family vacations, family reunions, pool days, boat days, and more, it can seem impossible to start or stay on track with any healthy habits. I often hear things like, “I don’t know if I should just take a break?” or “Maybe I should start this lifestyle change when things slow down.”
First of all, when you have laid foundational healthy habits, there are no breaks. There may be days that aren’t as aligned with your habits as you’d like or days where you don’t achieve your habits as much as you normally do, but breaks aren’t necessary when you’re living a flexible lifestyle. Second of all, if you wait for things to slow down you’ll be waiting your whole life. Yes, there are circumstances where waiting is appropriate like going on your honeymoon or a 12 day European adventure but generally speaking, life is not slowing down.
Our first foundational habits for clients is getting in a minimum of three servings of protein, ideally every 3-5 hours. Laurin and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon discuss why this is such a priority here. While traveling or attending events it can be very hard to maintain this habit if you are not deliberate about it, as with anything, but it is far from impossible.
Prioritize Protein Through the Day: Start your day with protein rich meals like breakfast and a snack. You can even bring protein snacks like a bar, protein powder, or meat stick with you on your excursions. Are these my go-tos? No, I always suggest whole food first as the ideal. But when the ideal is not available, these options work great!
Make Protein the Main Character: Most events where food is served have some protein source. Make this the focus on your meal and build your meal around it. If you’re concerned there will be no suitable protein, and it’s appropriate, be the one to bring the protein. BBQ’s, birthdays, boat days, and potlucks are all opportunities for you to be the one to bring some high quality protein to the table. Things like chicken kabobs, shrimp cocktail, or lean beef patties are all great options that people will love.
Protein > Perfection: If you are at an event like a wedding or restaurant meal, showing up with a bowl of shrimp cocktail might not be the best look. These are the situations to look for the next best option. Rather that fixating on the fact you can’t have your ideal choice and defaulting to fuck it mode, make do with what is being served but selecting the highest protein options. When in a restaurant setting, look for a solid source of protein on the menu and don’t be afraid to ask for customization.
My second habit is getting two-three servings of vegetables and one-two servings of fruit per day. Many of the same tips for protein apply here; get your micros in early, bring a micronutrient dense contribution to an event if possible, and go for somewhat nutrient dense options when the perfect, minimally processed micros are not available. There are a few more tips that can be particularly helpful when trying to maintain a sufficient micro intake during events.
Get Yourself Some Micro Side Pieces: Okay, not side pieces, but side dishes? Yes. While I would personal love to go all in on the bread and butter, rather than loading up on the more processed side dishes, like your pasta salads, potato salads, Oreo “salad” (midwesterners you know what I’m saying), fill your plate with the more nutrient dense options available. Again, even if they are not as healthy as what you may make at home, it’s nutrient profile is undoubtedly better than the mac and cheese.
That’s not to say don’t enjoy those things. If you are at a place in your goals where that is appropriate, absolutely get what you want within reason to avoid “Restricter’s Remorse”. But if you fill up on the good stuff first, your protein and micros, you’ll be less likely to overdo it on the not so ideal options.
Water The third and final habit I will touch on here is water intake. This is probably the easiest habit to adhere to during summer events yet people still fall short. If ever there was a time to stay hydrated, it would be this time of year. Here are some ways to stay happy and hydrated this summer (okay, can’t promise the happy but some water can’t hurt).
Let's Get Electro-Lit: Heat, alcohol, and sunshine are all a recipe for summer fun and dehydration. Prior to heading out, be sure to get in the water and some electrolytes. I love Propel hydration sticks that you can take with you to help with fluid regulation.
Be That Person with a Hydro Flask: We know it feels like everyone is looking at you when you pull your water bottle out of your purse during a wedding ceremony or graduation ceremony. I promise you, they are not. Bringing a water bottle for refill to an event (if allowed), for travel, and for long days out is extremely helpful. Furthermore, having that bottle on hand helps you make drinking water a priority. It can be too easy to stick to alcoholic beverages and forget to reach for water. When you have one on hand it makes it a hell of a lot easier. But just having it on hand is not enough, you do have to *actually* drink it.