Memorial Day is synonymous with excess—the kickoff to summer generally involves grills loaded with racks of ribs and burgers, and picnic tables groaning under the weight of macaroni salad, chips, and desserts.
But “barbecue” doesn't have to be synonymous with “unhealthy pig-out fest." You can have a celebration that is healthy, delicious, and fun if you keep these five simple tips in mind.
1. Fill up on veggies first.
Bring a veggie and hummus platter to the party. Celery, cucumber, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and cauliflower with a couple different types of hummus is the perfect way to fill up with satisfying, guilt-free food, leaving less room for the unhealthy stuff.
2. Replace the meat and dairy with plant-based alternatives.
There are so many incredibly tasty vegan products on the market today to choose from—there's simply no need to put disease-causing animal products in our bodies or support the cruelty of the meat industry. You can find a ton of the top vegan swaps in the Sexy Fit Vegan How To Go Vegan Beginner’s Guide. Here are some examples:
- Amy’s California Burger (also gluten-free!)
- Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs
- Daiya shreds
- Pacific Foods Organic Almond Beverage
3. Drink tons of water and avoid sugary drinks.
Sugar is enemy number one when it comes to weakening our immune systems and causing weight gain. By remembering to drink lots of water, you will help yourself stay hydrated and avoid other unhealthy liquids. Soda, sweet tea, and juice will only make your calorie intake and blood sugar levels skyrocket. Not good! If you drink alcohol, keep your intake moderate and avoid sugary mixers. If you really want a mixed drink, try soda water and fresh lemon for a low calorie, sugar-free alternative.
4. Get in an intense morning workout.
Burn off those extra calories in advance with an awesome workout in the morning before the festivities begin. Working out not only helps keep you on track for your fitness goals, but also boosts your mood and energize you for the rest of the day.
5. Say no to preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Synthetic additives and preservatives sneak into so many of the foods on grocery shelves, and they can wreak havoc on our bodies. The key here is reading nutrition labels—but that can be tricky (learn how to tackle tricky labels in the “How To Go Vegan Beginner’s Guide”).
Labels are your friend. Read them to find out what you're really eating—and look to Thrive Market for wholesome, healthy products you trust.
Photo credit: ppdiaporama via Flickr