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July 22, 2014

5 Ways to Beat Summer Weekend Weight Gain

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

By Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

Ah, summer weekends. Time to kick back, enjoy time with family and friends, and, most likely, overeat. 

After a tough week of sticking to your healthy routine, you might image that you've earned a few cocktails, snack chips, and desserts.  Occasional splurges won't affect your weight, but giving yourself a complete pass on your healthy, week day eating plan probably will. A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that adults consume an extra 115 calories on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which can amount to additional pounds by the time September rolls around. 

Welcome the weekend with better summer eating strategies for calorie control. Use these tips, and you won't be kicking yourself come Monday morning.

Problem: You lose track of what you eat. 

Fix it: Weigh yourself on Friday morning and again on Monday morning to help you monitor weekend weight change.  Knowing that the scale awaits you at the end of the weekend may curb a free-for-all weekend eating attitude. 

Problem: You're in a weekend eating rut. 

Fix it: Break out of your usual routine with dishes rich protein and carbohydrate to keep you fuller for longer and help you stay away from high-calorie snacks like chips and dip.  

Check out our latest recipes that are perfect for summer. They feature the newest flavors of Hood Cottage Cheese and can serve as delicious snacks or part of a balanced meal. 

Smoked Salmon with Cucumber Salad

Savory Stuffed Tomatoes

Mushroom and Red Pepper Flatbread

Spinach Egg and Cheese Cups

Cucumber Bites

Problem: You sit on the beach or by the pool.

Fix it: Going from sitting at your desk all week to lounging by the water is tempting but it's no good for your waistline.  Schedule at least one full workout on Saturday or Sunday, and move as much as possible during the day, too. When you're at the beach, lake or pool get up every hour and walk or swim for at least 10 minutes. 

Problem: Dining out.

Fix it: According to a study at the University of Toronto, the average dinner meal at popular chain restaurants serves up more than 1,100 calories, about half of what most adults need.  Chance are you'll eat what you're served unless you ask for a doggy bag upfront to pack away at least half your meal. Skip anything on the menu described as creamy, crunchy, crispy, batter-dipped, or sautéed, as those terms that tell you it's loaded with calories.  Always share dessert; the first few bites are the best anyway. 

Problem: Alcoholic beverages. 

Fix it: Refreshing cocktails may be a rite of summer and also too much of a good thing that adds up to hundreds of extra calories. Plus, alcohol decreases your resolve to eat better.  Limit alcoholic beverages to one each weekend day and drink a calorie-free non-alcoholic beverage, such as sparkling water or club soda, along with them. 

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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