STAYING ON TRACK
Four ways to eat healthily this summer.
WRITTEN BY JACQUELINE WICKENS
ILLUSTRATION BY SOPHIA PAPPAS
The Reno-Tahoe area hosts so many great summertime food-and-drink festivals — Food Truck Friday, wine walks, and, of course, the rib cook-off. If you are trying to eat healthily, you might think the temptation of these events will throw you completely off course. However, there may be a way to have your cake and eat it too. Here are four tips from a nutritionist and fellow food lover to help you stay on track this summer.
1. Be Choosy.
Along with Reno-Tahoe’s many summer food-and-drink events, family barbecues, camping trips, and road trips may also factor into your eating habits this summer (ice cream and s’mores, anyone?). Take the time to choose which events you know you won’t compromise on. A birthday barbecue for a family member may be a better place to splurge on calories than the rib cook-off.
2.Set reasonable barriers.
This tip can be handy not only for summer eating, but for eating in general. Setting strict rules around your food can lead to a vicious cycle of restricting and bingeing, not to mention a poor relationship with food. Therefore, I suggest setting parameters around your food that are reasonable and sustainable long term. For example, you might set a goal that you will only dine out once a week or that you will allow yourself two handful-sized desserts a week, rather than cutting out desserts altogether.
3. Enjoy the experience.
How often do you think you take the time to really enjoy the experience of your food — the company you’re with, the conversation, the smell of the food, and much more? Sometimes we forget that eating involves more senses than just taste. Keep in mind that nutrition and food are not just tools for weight management and health, but they also are social, cultural, and enjoyable parts of our lives. Enjoying the richness of the experience may lead you to desire less of the actual food.
4. Plan, plan, plan.
Plan as well as you can for food adventures. If you know you are going out to Food Truck Friday, for example, plan to eat a lighter breakfast and lunch, or perhaps get in an extra workout. Planning a family weekend getaway chock full of food fun? Load up your road trip snack bag with lots of nutrient-dense foods, such as cut-up fruits and vegetables, to eat on your way. Balance and moderation, both recurring themes in nutrition, truly are key to sustainable eating habits and success!
Free yourself from the idea of all or nothing when it comes to healthy eating. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the foods and events you love this summer, but it’s all about moderation and managing your indulgences to stay on track. Take time this season to savor the social and satisfying aspects of food while still maintaining balance and eating for good health.
Jacqueline Wickens has a bachelor of science in nutrition and Dietetics and is a nutrition coordinator at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center in Reno.