By: Karen Yontz Center Staff
It's finally summer! If you're like us, you can't wait to enjoy all of the fun things the season has to offer — picnics, ballgames, festivals and all sorts of other outdoor events. It feels so great to be outside and sharing good times (and great food) with family and friends. But let's face it, while so many of these activities involve food, it's not usually the most healthy kinds of food, which can mean trouble for anyone who is trying to eat heart-healthy. What's a person to do when surrounded by the temptation of brats, burgers, cheese curds or funnel cake? It may seem inevitable to give in to temptation, but with a little preparation, you can make sure you don't sabotage your healthy diet.
- First, make a plan: If we've said it once, we've said it a million times — a plan for these types of situations is your best friend. Knowing where to find healthy food and drink options is a diet lifesaver. If you know what types of healthy food options are available at the venue you'll be at and you know where to find those healthy items in the venue, you are much more likely to choose to forgo those nachos. Aurora Health Care has partnered with some Milwaukee festivals as well as the Milwaukee Brewers to offer healthy food options. So whether you are heading to German Fest or a baseball game, you will be prepared. If you are headed out of town to any activities, a quick internet search can usually net you some helpful information about the menu items you will find there.
- If you can, bring food from home: Nowadays, it's getting tougher to find places that will allow patrons to bring their own food and/or beverages in. However, there are still a few. Many waterparks, amusement parks, and even ballparks allow small coolers to be brought in. You can stock your cooler with healthy salads, sandwiches, fruit and water so that you don't go hungry and find yourself caving to the sugary treats sold at their food windows.
- Remember a treat is a treat, not a meal: If we're being honest here, we know that most people will want to indulge in a treat or two at a place like the State Fair or the ballpark. (This writer has a particular weakness for cotton candy). But it is possible to enjoy a treat without sabotaging your entire day. Before going to your event, eat a healthy meal at home or choose a healthy dining option at the venue. Give yourself permission to have one treat. Allow yourself the freedom to look forward to that treat and to enjoy it when you have it. Savor each bite or sip. Then focus your attention on enjoying the event and the company.
- If all else fails, dust yourself off and start again: It may happen that even with all of your healthy eating preparation, you fall off the wagon and have a day full of fat and salt and sugar. Remember that tomorrow is a new day and resume your heart-healthy eating then. Don't use a day of indulgence as an excuse to completely abandon all of your good, healthy work.