This weekend is arguably the most celebrated summer holiday, and for good reason.
It’s a time when families and friends come together at cabins, lake houses, beaches and backyards to celebrate this beautiful country we live in with those we love and care about.
As with all festivities in Canadian culture, it wouldn't be the same without the food. (That goes for any culture really.) I mean, seriously, name one country or culture that doesn't bring out their favourite foods when there's an occasion, much less a national celebration? I'll wait.
So yes, we all agree there will be a variety of food served wherever you end up celebrating your Canada Day, and it will likely carry on throughout the weekend.
Memories are made around the table and tastes and smells trigger will trigger them. Many of us look forward to these times and smile as we remember past celebrations. But for some, just the thought of attending a BBQ, a picnic or cooking hot dogs on the fire brings up feelings of anxiety, stress and fear. The stress of not knowing what foods will be available, or that they have no control over what's served, and/or that they simply won't have the willpower to avoid certain foods in order to stay on track with their health and weight goals, is so overwhelming, they may avoid the party altogether.
Deep down, nobody wants that. So if this is you, or someone you know, here are five tips to ease that angst and help you eat the food, enjoy the celebration, and make those memories that, when triggered next year, will make you smile, not squirm.
1. Eat small meals that include protein frequently throughout the day rather than skipping meals to “save up” for the calories you will consume later. Your body doesn't work that way and all you'll end up doing is burning muscle throughout the day, and then immediately spike your blood sugar and store fat as soon as you take that first bite. Keeping your body well fuelled keeps your appetite hormones in check and prevents cravings.
2. Offer to bring a dish. Knowing that no matter what the menu offers where you're headed, bringing something to share means that you'll have something you feel good about eating. Which of course means you'll be able to relax and enjoy the celebrations.
3. Always pair alcohol with protein and fat. Alcohol is a liquid carb that enters into the bloodstream super quickly causing an immediate spike in blood sugar and subsequent fat storage. Having a protein and fat with it, or before is even better, slows down digestion, curbs that spike in blood sugar and minimizes any fat storage.
4. Drink lots of water. Making sure to stay well hydrated throughout the day leading up to, during and after the event, will help your body flush out the bloat that can happen when you do choose to indulge.
5. Know that wherever you are in your health and/or weight loss journey, one meal will not sabotage your results. Just like one super healthy, balance meal won't get you to your goals overnight, indulging in one celebration meal won't destroy all the good you've done up until this point.
And one bonus tip. Do not stand on the scale the next day. Your body will retain bloat and waste from foods high in salt, sugar, low quality oils, etc., and that may show up on the scale as an increase of a few pounds. Just know it's not real weight, it's inflated weight. Drinking extra water and eating super clean for a few days will help your body to flush it out, I promise. So don't panic. Just FYI, if you're stepping on the scale everyday, I highly recommend you put it away and only take it out once a month or every couple weeks if you must. Your health and weight comes from so much more than just that number on the scale.
Happy Canada Day.
If you're looking to eliminate the food stress and anxiety in your life, click to watch Tania's free 15 mins video.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.