Tips for a Healthy Happy Summer

 

Have a Guilt Free Summer.

Weekends at the beach, outdoor dinners with friends, and backyard barbecues all have two things in common, the people we love and food temptations galore! If you’re trying to lose weight this summer, on the BeBalanced program, or you simply want to eat healthier, you might be thinking you’re better off steering clear of all those fun summer events loaded with temptations. But hey, let’s face it, life isn’t going to simply stop while you are trying to make better food choices or lose weight, nor should it! Many of my clients reach out to me during this time of year in a panic so I thought it might be helpful to share some tips on how to fully enjoy your summer, without feeling deprived or being completely derailed.

Put on your Positive Pants!

Change your focus from feeling like you’re missing out on something, to creating a life you love, doing things that make you happy, and taking care of yourself and your needs. Understand that spending time with friends and family does not need to be associated with over eating or over indulging. Keep in mind that when you celebrate, you are celebrating the people and experiences in your life, not food. Remind yourself daily, that you have the power to do anything you put your mind to. Making the time to take care of yourself, is a decision that will empower you in all aspects of your life. The benefits you will experience will encourage and motivate you. You’ve got this, and we are here to help.

Clear your Head and Breathe.

Daily use of the relaxation techniques, like those on our program, are key to helping you achieve natural hormone balance. Practicing calming tools before you head to an event or gathering, such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, journaling or using essential oils, will help to lower cortisol levels and stabilize your blood sugar, thus curbing cravings and will help keep you calm and focused. Speak positive words about yourself and your goals while heading to your social event.

Hydrate to Feel Great.

During the hot summer months, heat and sweat can leave your body dehydrated. A lack of water is harmful to your body and can also make you crave food when you’re not actually hungry. Before you head to that summer shindig, make sure you consume at least 3/4 of your daily water requirements, which we suggest is half your body weight in ounces. Oftentimes, we think that we’re hungry, but we’re really just thirsty. Many of the feelings associated with being hungry, such as an empty, gurgling stomach, and low energy levels, also strike when you’re running low on H2O. I have also found it helpful to take a big bottle of water with me when I go to gatherings. I love infusing my water with some cucumber slices, fresh berries, or lemon and lime juice.

What should I Choose?

In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are.” You might not be able to plan the full spread at a barbeque or gathering but there are some great ways you can make better decisions! If you’re headed to a potluck, bring a dish that you know is healthy. That way, if all else fails, you can fill up on that first.

Since protein will keep your body full and your blood sugar stabilized, and the only options might be processed hamburgers and mystery meat hot dogs, ask the event organizer if you could bring your own protein sources to share! Think chicken, grass fed burgers, salmon, or steak. Often, I will prepare marinated chicken, or steak, and veggie kabobs to take along (see example recipe on the right). It’s a great way to feel like you’re bringing a “dish” without offending the host.

Most parties have some sort of veggie tray so opt to bring a healthy alternative to dip them in. I love making my own veggie dip using Greek yogurt (see recipe on the right). Another trick I use, is to simply bring along bib lettuce or romaine as a great alternative to using bread. You can also try filling a hollowed-out bell pepper with chicken, tuna or egg salad. Besides protein, fill up on non-starchy vegetables and fruits. Butternut squash and sweet potatoes can serve as a good replacement for regular potatoes and other starchy sides.

What about all those Heavenly Deserts?

If at all possible, steer clear of the dessert table and opt for fruit as a sweet treat. Better yet, bring your own healthy alternatives. I love making summer popsicles out of lime juice and frozen berries, homemade frozen yogurts, or my favorite cookies; Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies (see recipes on the right).

Eating Out on the Town.

Choose restaurants that are better suited to fit your needs. Think steak houses or seafood restaurants rather than sandwich shops. If you know they serve bread, ask the waiter not to bring any, to avoid being tempted or filling up on excess carbs. When deciding what to choose, focus on a protein choice such as seafood, steak, or chicken. Choose vegetables or a salad as your side(s). One trick I use at restaurants, to watch my portion sizes, is to ask the server for a to-go container ahead of time. That way when my food comes, I can and split it in half to eat later.

Cheers!

Most summer events seem to go down better with an ice-cold beer or a fancy fruity cocktail sitting outside enjoying the warm weather. I’m certainly not saying you should never drink, but when you do, there are certainly options that are better than others. The best choices for alcoholic beverages are those made with clear liquors, such as vodka or gin. The main sugar loaded culprit in mixed drinks is actually what you mix the alcohol with. Try mixing your liquor with seltzer or soda water and add flavor with fresh lemon or lime juice or muddled berries. If you choose not to drink but want to feel like you are participating, drink your non-alcoholic beverage in a fun glass such as a wine or martini glass. Add some low calorific flavoring to water such as a piece of fruit or opt for healthy alternatives like green tea or coconut water.

Don’t beat Yourself Up!

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that promotes feeling your best is a choice. If you choose to indulge, try do so sparingly and only on occasion. Don’t let your trip or event completely derail you – choosing to deviate on a special occasion will do a lot less damage than throwing in the towel. And most of all, give yourself some slack and remember that no one is perfect. Come up with a plan ahead of time and do your best to stick to it. If you go a little overboard, just wake up the next day ready to get right back on track!

Let us Help.

Many women are left feeling discouraged when traditional diet and exercise plans don’t help to drop stubborn weight. What people may not realize is the root of the problem can be a hormone imbalance issue. Our program uses the power of natural hormone balancing to work with your body to correct two key hormone imbalances that are holding you back. We provide an innovative Hormone Balancing weight loss program, relaxation tools and supplements to help you achieve overall physical well-being by targeting the hormones that affect your weight, sleep, mood, and energy. For more information about our program, contact us today! Click here to find a BeBalanced Center near you!

Remember, you are amazing, and you can do anything you put your mind to!

~ Dawn M. Cutillo
Founder of BeBalanced, Author of The Hormone Shift

 

Balsamic Chicken Kabobs

Cookout in style with simple and delicious kabobs!

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • Veggies of your choice cut into cubes (examples: peppers, onions, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, etc.)

Balsamic Marinade

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or MCT oil)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • salt & pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, dry basil, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. In a large bowl, mix chicken and half the balsamic mixture, reserve the rest. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to marinade. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and assemble the kabobs. Place kabobs on the grill and grill each side for 3-4 minutes, until charred. Brush the remaining marinade on the kabobs. Grill for 2 more minutes.


Greek Yogurt Dip

Upgrade your veggies with this delicious alternative to ranch dip.

  • 16 oz Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 3 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put Greek yogurt, walnuts, dill and garlic into a food processor and blend for about one minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste then blend again till smooth. Chill for a few hours as the dip will become thicker and richer. Garnish with chopped walnuts.


Low sugar Frozen Popsicles

Cool off with a “sweet” treat that’s low in sugar and big on flavor!

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen berries
  • freshly squeezed juice of one whole lime, orange, or lemon
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

In a blender, blend all ingredients on high. Add a little more water if the mixture isn’t mixing in the blender. Adjust sweetener or other ingredients as needed. Pour mixture into popsicle molds freeze for several hours or overnight.


Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

Satisfy those ice cream cravings with this delicious, high protein, low sugar frozen yogurt that’s fun and easy to make!

  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1/16 tsp. stevia extract or to taste
  • 1 dash salt

Put all the ingredients in a blender, with the frozen fruit on top. Start blending on low until mixture begins to blend. Once it starts blending smoothly, blend on high for approximately 30 seconds or until creamy. Consume immediately or place the mixture into an airtight container and freeze.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

Curb your sweet tooth and your appetite with these delicious, gluten-free, high protein cookies.

  • 2 scoops (or ½ cup) vanilla protein powder
  • One large egg
  • ½ cup cane sugar (or coconut palm sugar) plus more for topping
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix together. Scoop 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Then flatten gently into a cookie shape. Place on cookie sheet and repeat. Use a fork to create the classic peanut butter crisscross shape by lightly pressing onto cookie dough. Then sprinkle with organic cane sugar and a pinch of salt. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies begin to turn golden brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes to let the cookies harden. Store in a tight plastic bag or container in a cool/dark place or freezer.