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Celebrate Memorial Day and Still Keep Your Dieting Goals

Celebrate Memorial Day and Still Keep Your Dieting Goals

When you are on a quest for a healthier lifestyle or you have been following a weight loss protocol like the HCG diet, navigating through a holiday weekend can be a real challenge. Winter months tend to see people stuck indoors and overeating, and as spring arrives, there is a wealth of possibilities for healthy foods and outdoor activities. However, Memorial Day can put a hiccup in your beach body plans, as it often marks the beginning of BBQ season. It’s easy to get tripped up by the holidays, especially if you don’t have a plan in place to avoid overeating or blowing your diet. Here are the key things to remember for your Memorial Day indulgences.

Provide a Healthy Alternative

If you are hosting the festivities on May 25th, it is a lot easier to plan a meal around the foods that you can eat without ruining what you’ve been working hard to achieve. However, if you are headed to friends or to a family member’s house, offer to bring a dish to share. Most traditional cookout menus don’t include a lot of vegetables, which means you end up filling your plate (and therefore your stomach) with foods that are high in carbs or calories. In a one-cup serving of potato salad, you will get about 360 calories, when compared to a handful of bright red grape tomatoes that will only give you about 16 calories. As a host, design the appetizers and side dishes around water-rich veggies, or if you are the guest, then make a platter for everyone to share. Veggie kabobs are easy to toss on the grill, raw veggies with hummus are great appetizers, and a chilled vinegar-based slaw becomes a good side dish.

Just Pick One Starch

The temptation to overload yourself on carbs during Memorial Day weekend will be overwhelming, as who can resist potato salad, a toasty burger bun, or the strawberry shortcake? You don’t have to cut yourself off completely from these favorites, but you should compromise on your mealtime approach. Carefully pick and choose between your vices. If you would rather have the potato salad, then leave the bun off your burger and wrap it in Romaine lettuce leaves instead. If you are a huge fan of patriotic cupcakes, then ditch all the other starchy foods during the meal to save some room. You don’t have to miss out on the foods that make Memorial Day one of the greatest American holidays. A little give-and-take strategy will go a long way in letting you celebrate without guilt or an overindulgence hangover.

Take an Exercise Time Out

For anyone that is working to manage their weight and get into a size they feel comfortable with, it is much easier to put on the pounds than it is to take them off. Even though you may be watching what you will eat on Memorial Day, you can help encourage the needle on the scale to move downward by putting in some extra activity. When you find yourself playing games, you won’t have time to stand around and nibble on the goodies. You don’t have to run a marathon on your day off, but Memorial Day picnics are great for a game of badminton, backyard frisbee, or baseball. Get some people together for a game of badminton and you will burn about 300 calories. You could even take a brisk walk around the neighborhood while you wait for your burgers to cook. Simply standing rather than sitting during the day can help increase your calorie burn by more than 50% an hour.

Deliberate on the Drinking

It is an American tradition to throw back a cold one when chowing down on some Memorial Day barbeque, but alcohol acts as an appetite stimulate. A few drinks will take up a lot of the calories you are supposed to be watching, but it could be bad news for your snacking habits. You don’t have to give up drinking altogether, but you should choose skinner options. Opt for light beers, as these usually have around 105 calories a bottle. Tequila shots only have about 100 calories, but once you turn it into a margarita, you could hit upwards of 500 calories for a drink. You could also opt for a wine spritzer rather than a glass of wine. The smartest drinking choice during the holiday is to increase your water consumption. Staying hydrated is important, but choosing water also helps curb your eating. Kick up the flavor with slices of lemon, cucumber, or mint.


Memorial Day is just around the corner, and with these tips, you can celebrate without guilt and not go home hungry.


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About the author

Dr. Richard Smith, MD

6 min read