A Happy, Healthy 4th of July BBQ

fireworks

Who doesn't love a day off in the middle of the summer to get together with friends and family to celebrate? BBQ’s usually start early in the day but the party never ends until after the fireworks so the number one tip is to pace yourself!  Don’t show up hungry and start stuffing yourself with the chips and dips the moment you get there.  Two reasons why you should offer to bring an appetizer to the BBQ.  First of all, you get the “good friend” credit with the offer and second, you ensure there will be some healthy snacks available.

The 4th of July is the ultimate hang out and play holiday, so be sure to join in a beach volleyball game or lead everyone in a game of tag football.  Throw a frisbee in your bag, or pick up one of those bean bag toss games...just don’t turn it into a drinking game because it all goes back to tip #1, pace yourself.

Remember, a can of beer has about 150 calories and 13 g of carbs and they go down pretty quickly on a hot day!  But, three of those and “BAM,” you've loaded yourself up in more ways than one. That heavy, bloated and gassy feeling is from the carbonation and that sloppy drunk thing in the middle of the day isn't worth it either.

Use common sense and stick to the 4th of July “food pyramid!”  Vegetables can be eaten in unlimited amounts.  Add your protein during a reasonably sized meal as you settle into the celebration, like, a burger, some ribs or chicken from the grill.  Go easy on the chips, pretzels, cookies and brownies that are always in abundance at these parties.  Drink a bottle or a glass of water in between those cocktails, helpful hydration in more ways than one.

Be safe, have lots of fun, eat for your health and HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Beach Bag Snacks

beach-bag-snacks

Hooray, summer is here at last! It is time to escape to your favorite water spot with a bag packed with some good reading material and a towel. Whether your swimming spot is a beach, a bay, a lake or a pool, it's always important to pack beach snacks as well! Is it just me, or does everyone else get hungry after a bracing dip into the ocean?

Snacks at the beach must be practical, there is not a lot of sand free preparation space. Foods that melt or leave a mess on the hands and face are best left at home. Don't load up on foods that give you a food baby (aka bloating) or attract those always hungry, vulture-like seagulls.

So what's in my bag? Fruits are the best! Fruit is light, hydrating and pretty sexy when eaten with a bit of dramatic flair. Plus, fruit will not make you feel bloated. My top 5 fruits for the beach are watermelon, sliced apples, pineapple, grapes and pears. They are all super refreshing when packed in a cooler with ice.

If you need something on the salty side, choose nuts over chips. Nuts are not nearly as greasy and they pack a protein punch that will make you feel full.

Don't forget to pack a water bottle and please, no no no to full course meals! It's the beach, I mean really....

Have your chocolate and eat it, too

Chocolate cravings and PMS seem to go hand and hand much to the dismay of many women.  What’s to blame for this sneaky occurrence?  During PMS, your levels of estrogen fluctuate, which could decrease serotonin, the hormone responsible for feeling good and regulating your mood.  Decreases in this vital hormone tends to cause symptoms of  irritability, carbohydrate cravings, and depression.

chocolate cake for pms

Fortunately, there's no need to resist when there's a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Here's a vegetarian recipe for Devil's Chocolate Cake from P.S. It's Healthy that's also sugar- and butter-free.

An UNinterrupted Independence Day

Happy Independence Day Eve, everyone!  While you’re busy with prep work (or simply figuring out what to wear to the barbecue tomorrow), it’ll be useful to keep in mind the sorts of dishes you’ll be eating tomorrow and what sort of effects they might have, especially if you’re going through PMS right now.  Though these tips are aimed at alleviating symptoms, they’re also generally useful health tips as well!

Here is a list of some popular foods you’ll most likely be enjoying this Fourth of July:

barbecue-health

  • Ribs: Studies have shown that a diet rich in iron actually prevents PMS symptoms especially in comparison to those with potassium-rich diets. This isn’t to say load up on iron-rich foods but a call for a more well-rounded diet to alleviate PMS discomfort. Meat is a great source of iron, so work in a couple of ribs into your diet this Independence Day. There’s no better excuse to eat some yummy barbecue! But also keep in mind that too much red meat (and dairy!), chockful of saturated fats, can aggravate mood swings. They tend to cause estrogen levels to rise and an imbalance to hormone levels, so everything in moderation!
  • pieimagecopyrighted4 Pie… sweets… desserts in general: It’s going to be hard, but refrain from eating too much cake or sweets! Refined sugar causes an immediate rise in blood sugar levels since it makes it hard for the body to process estrogen. You’ll also tend to feel bloated from sodium retention, so don’t forget to cut back on using the salt shaker. Highly refined sugars also rid the body of natural vitamins so it’s best to limit sugar intake (and also alcohol) 2 weeks before your period starts to keep PMS in check.
  • spinach-arugula-cranberry-walnut-saladSide dishes of beans, leafy greens and such: To put it simply, these are good. They’re  packed with riboflavin (B2) and thiamine (B1) which lower PMS symptoms. Ironically, vitamin B supplements have been known to make PMS symptoms worse, so get your source of B-vitamins from their natural source: food.

There you have it—if you happen to be lucky enough to not have PMS during Independence Day, more power to you! But for those that do, hope this list of popular foods this holiday will help you make better choices so that you can enjoy your day UNinterrupted.

Wishing you a safe and fun Fourth of July,

Girl U

 

Springtime Tips to Drink More Water

Spring is here!

With the temperatures rising make sure you’re getting your daily doses of water. Here are some tips to help you drink more water!

MORNING CUP: Drink a glass as soon as you wake up.

DRINK BEFORE EACH MEAL: Drink a glass 30 minutes before every meal. Not only will you stay hydrated but you’ll eat less too!

CUT CAFFEINE: Caffeine can affect the body’s water balance. By cutting caffeinated beverages you will help your body stay hydrated.

EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Remember that fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water! Consuming your daily dose will help and improve the body’s water balance.

FLAVOR IT: Add a lemon wedge or a slice of cucumber to enhance the water’s flavor.

BOTTLE IT: Carry around bottled water. By having water near and around you, you’d unconsciously drink more water. You’ll save time, money and the environment in using a re-useable water bottle. Finding a fun bottle can also encourage you to drink more water!

THIS WEEK’S TIP

Keep track of how many glasses of water you have per day. Try to increase your water intake each day!