I love summer. The days are longer, and the sun shines brightly. It’s the season of barbecues, music festivals, picnics, parades, road trips and pool and beach time. Everything’s a little more relaxed, but that also makes it tempting to relax your way of eating as well. Most likely this upcoming weekend and the 4th of July holiday will revolve around outdoor entertaining and food. If you kick off summer with some of my tips for living a low-carb lifestyle year around, you should be able to enjoy this time of the year without picking up a few extra pounds along the way.
- I know you hear this all the time, but hydration is so important for many reasons. Water cools you down, helps digestion run smoothly, your organs function and eases hunger pangs. And during the hotter months, especially if you are exercising outside, you might need to increase your water intake.
- Have some go-to low-carb summer recipes. When you’re faced with carb-laden potato and macaroni salads that might send your cravings and resolve over the edge, you can whip up Cauliflower Potato Salad or Buffalo Chicken Egg Salad.
- Think of grains as garnishes, as well as veggies higher in carbs. Whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, faro or barley can add pleasing texture and fiber to many dishes but they don’t need to be your main course. Try tossing in some herbed quinoa or bulgur with edamame and diced tomatoes for a cool summer salad. If you’re craving corn on the cob, add fresh kernels of corn to a salad of diced avocado, tomato, red onion, cilantro, a little jalapeno, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cube a half a potato and toss with mushrooms, zucchini and squash slices, some olive oil and salt and pepper and roast.
- Go easy on the booze. If you do choose to drink while doing Atkins, steer clear of sugary drinks like margaritas (although you can sip on this low-carb Margarita), and stick with light beers and or wine spritzers. Alternate an alcoholic drink with water, club soda or carbonated water. Be aware that one too many drinks may increase your appetite and weaken your will power; if this happens to you, you might want to skip the booze entirely.
- If you go off course, turn around. No one is perfect; if you overdo it on carbs, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on track as soon as you can. If you’ve fallen way off the wagon, cut your Net Carb intake by 5 or 10 grams to jumpstart weight loss.
Summer is a glorious time of the year, and many foods that go hand-in-hand with this season are naturally low in carbs: grilled meat, poultry and fish, and plenty of fresh vegetables.