5 Tips to Survive Labor Day Feasts

Ah, the unofficial last weekend of summer! Here’s how to enjoy it without feeling guilty when it’s over.

Keep Your Drinking Simple

Skip the bottomless mimosa and bloodies, and avoid fruity alcoholic concoctions altogether. Instead, opt for something low in carbs and sugar. Sip simple drinks like vodka and soda water with a squirt of lime. Not only will this save you a ton of calories, but you’ll also save yourself from a sugar-induced hangover.

Be Buffet Smart

This simple trick can slash calories like crazy: Scan the buffet line strategically before you even pick up a plate. Studies show that individuals who are overweight tend to fill their plate as they go through the line. Meanwhile, people at a recommended weight tend to be more strategic and take inventory, decide what they’re going to eat, and then grab a plate. If you’re contributing to the buffet offerings at a potluck dinner, be the one to bring a fruit or veggie dish to ensure you’ll have a healthy choice. Sliced tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with basil, a fruit salad served in a scooped-out watermelon half, or vegetable skewers to throw on the grill are some choices.

Don’t Skip Meals

It’s easy to hope that if you skip a meal or two, you can treat yourself to more food later, but doing so will only result in Big Eyes Syndrome: You’ll get so ravenous at the first smell and sight of food that you stack your plate high and set yourself up for weight-loss failure. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch thinking it will balance out what you’ll eat at holiday festivities. You’ll have low blood sugar, be really hungry and more likely to overindulge.

Go Bunless

BBQ fare tends to be high in calories, but if you only indulge occasionally, it’s okay to sink your teeth into a juicy burger or savory bratwurst. To boost your weight-loss efforts, just skip the bun or find a burger bun alternative. To save almost 200 calories, wrap the meat in a cabbage or romaine leaf: Not sure which meat option is your best bet? Given the choice, opt for a lean beef burger over a hot dog for less saturated fat and belly-bloating sodium. Just keep the toppings smart; veggies and a squirt of mustard or ketchup are your best bets.

Create a healthy “morning after” tradition

Start your day by banking some calories. Plan to meet your friends in the park, on a trail, or at the gym for a workout or sports game the morning after a holiday meal; this will help you wake up and start the day off on the right foot, instead of going right into leftovers. Plus, committing to join others for an activity makes you more likely to stick to your plan.


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