Lighter Weekend Eating Adds Up

“It’s the cottage that is killing me” replied one of my clients.  “I manage to eat well all week and then Friday hits. All my good intentions get left behind as we hit the drive-thru on the way out of town. “  This situation is not uncommon for those who enjoy weekend getaways or simply fall from their routine on the weekends.   For most, the weekend is a time to relax and celebrate with friends and family.  Along with celebration comes food and drink.   It is easy to fall into the habit of overindulging each weekend in the “spirit of summer”.  

For some, they will easily bounce back to their normal weight and healthy routine during the week.  For others, they find their weekend choices are too decadent and it begins to take a toll on their health.  The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice fun and celebration to tidy up your weekend routine.  If you can dodge a few major weekend pitfalls you’ll surface on Monday feeling lighter and ready to get back on track.  

The first strategy is to take a look at your weekend rituals.   Some common “scale tippers” are: alcoholic beverages such as coolers, wine or beer, high calorie snacks such as chips and chocolate, sweet desserts such as tarts and pies, large restaurant meals such as greasy spoon breakfasts and late night snacking.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up all your treats to scale down your weekend.  Simply choose 1 or 2 areas that you can begin to modify.  If you love beer or coolers on a hot summer afternoon, try lighter versions.  Be sure to keep a pitcher of ice water handy to quell your thirst between alcoholic drinks.  

If you cut back 2 alcoholic drinks per day on the weekend you’ll save about a pound per month (12 pounds per year). For afternoon snacking, treat yourself to a large veggie tray with light dip.  Fruit and veggie trays are always worth the extra expense.  You don’t have to necessarily give up on chips or treats, simply put out the healthy snacks first.  This recipe is a nice compromise between chips and veggies.  It is a lightened up version of the popular layered natcho dip.

You can make this at home or up at the cottage:

Lighter Layered Nacho Dip
Mix together 1 cup canned low-fat refried beans
1/3 cup low fat sour cream
2 Tbsp salsa

Spread evenly into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. 
Next layer 1 cup low fat sour cream (add 1 tsp taco seasoning if you like). 
Next layer 1 cup of chunky salsa mixed with ¼ cup of finely chopped green pepper.  
Top with ½ cup of reduced fat shredded cheese and chopped green onions.  
Serve with baked Nachos. 

If you can find a few new light recipes to add to your weekend rituals it will help to balance out your favourite indulgences.  Spend a little time planning before you leave town so you have the ingredients that you need.   If you are a sucker for sweet treats buy some fresh berries, grapes, melon or mango.  Serve them along with other treats or all on their own.  The last 2 pitfalls mentioned above, large restaurant meals and late night snacking, can be helped by eating at regular intervals.  

Try to have meals and balanced snacks every 3-4 hours during the day to avoid becoming over-hungry. Often a missed breakfast will translate into a huge brunch or carry over into late night munchies.