Summer Slim-Down meal plan: Week 7

Follow our eight-week summer meal and fitness plan to look and feel your best, without feeling deprived. This week: Eat your calories'don't drink them

Summer Slim-Down meal plan: Week 7

Source: Web exclusive, July 2011

You’re nearing the end of the program and ideally you’ve now developed some lasting habits, since the results you see after these eight-weeks will take continued commitment to maintain. There will always be things that come up in life, such as a wedding, an office celebration or a summer barbecue, but it’s important that you don’t let these events halt your healthy eating plan. Instead, learn to adapt with your actions and what you consume. ‘You’ve got to learn to make the healthy choice the easy choice,’ says registered dietitian Mary Bamford.

Craving a cold one?

In Week 6, we talked about budgeting your meals and calories to make room for indulgences. Well, your treat budget also includes alcohol, though allowing yourself a drink may mean you’ll have to save the dessert for another day (or week). And while nothing says summer quite like a cold margarita on a beautiful patio, be mindful about how many calories many blended alcoholic beverages have. It might be a cold refreshment in the moment but, with the amount of sugar in a single cocktail, you’ll be consuming a lot more calories than you expect.

Being consistent and true to your meal plan also means not overdoing it on the alcohol, says Bamford, calling the caloric content of a sugary cooler ‘ridiculous.’

One drink shouldn’t be a whole meal

Despite the appeal of an icy margarita or sweet daiquiri in the hot summer, Bamford cautions against indulging in these particular drinks. ‘They’re a whole meal’s worth of calories and they’re not very satisfying. They just make you want more,’ she says.

If a drink with your evening meal is something that you enjoy and don’t want to give up, try something lighter and limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage. With a single glass of wine, the number of calories you’re consuming is much more reasonable’plus, there’s the added health benefits of the antioxidants found in red wine. A five-ounce glass of wine is about 100 calories, and could be something you choose to use your ‘treat’ calories for, says Bamford.

But keep in mind that everything counts towards your daily total‘even liquid calories. Nothing’s free, so ultimately you have to decide if it’s worth it. A glass of red wine is a fine choice, says Bamford, especially if you’ve been saving up your treat calories for that glass on date night.

Choose a lighter option

Bamford also suggests a low-calorie or light beer as a more calorie-wise alternative to coolers. A shot of hard liquor such as vodka, rum or scotch tends to be 70 to 90 calories, which is also a reasonable number for a daily treat. Watch what you mix your liquor with, though, as juice and pop will have a lot of sugar and a lot of extra calories that will add up quickly.

Ultimately, be mindful about what’and how much’you’re drinking. Cocktails are often be coupled with high-calorie bar snacks, which is something you likely hadn’t planned for in your calorie budget.

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