Summer is here and you are trying to shed body fat, but you might be worried you are going to slip up when it comes to summer calorie counting.
Calorie counting in the warm summer months can be harder then other times of the year, but there are ways you can get ahead of the curve and keep yourself on track.
Read on to learn about some helpful tips to keep it together this summer when it comes to keeping your calorie intake in check.
Why is Counting Calories so Hard in the Summer?
Summer brings warmer weather, outdoor activities, and a variety of delicious seasonal foods, which can make calorie counting more difficult for most.
The summer season can pose challenges when it comes to counting calories, because many activities that occur in the summer time can switch up our normal every day routines.
With backyard barbecues, ice cream trucks, and tempting treats everywhere, it’s easy to lose track of your dietary goals.
Most people feel like they can’t enjoy the summer or do anything in the summer time that involves food, because they will go off course with their diet.
Here is some good news, there are ways to keep on top of your calorie intake and not let summer derail your diet.
Here is my list of ultimate summer calorie counting tips to help you navigate the summer while keeping your calorie intake in check.
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Ultimate Summer Calorie Counting Tips
1. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking.
When you consume water, it fills up space in your stomach, creating a sensation of fullness.
This can help curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
Additionally, water does not contain any calories, making it an excellent choice for hydration without adding to your calorie intake.
Water fills the stomach with volume, which then signals to your brain that your stomach is now full, which then will give you a satiated feeling.
By staying properly hydrated with water, you can better differentiate between thirst and genuine hunger cues, helping you make healthier choices and manage your calorie intake more effectively.
Remember to drink water throughout the day, particularly before meals, to promote satiety and support your overall health and weight management goals.
2. Be Mindful Of Beverages
Be cautious of high calorie beverages like regular soda, sweetened iced tea and juices, and also alcoholic drinks.
Jump for healthier alternatives such as diet sodas, infused water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice.
You can even make your own lemonade or any other drinks you love by subbing out the regular sugar for an artificial sweetener alternative.
3. Prep Meals and Snacks
Plan and prepare your meals and snacks in advance. This will help you avoid impulsive choices and ensure you have healthy options readily available.
To meal prep successfully, start by planning your meals for the week ahead.
Choose recipes that align with your goals and preferences, and make a detailed grocery list to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients.
Set aside a dedicated time for prepping, such as a Sunday afternoon or whichever day works best for you.
Begin by washing and chopping your vegetables, cooking grains or proteins, and portioning out your meals into individual containers.
Consider using tools like food storage containers, ziplock bags, or mason jars to keep your prepped meals fresh and easily accessible.
Label each container with the meal and date to stay organized.
Refrigerate or freeze your prepped meals, depending on how soon you plan to consume them.
By investing a few hours in meal prepping each week, you’ll have healthy and convenient options readily available, helping you resist the temptation of unhealthy fast food or impulsive choices when hunger strikes.
4. Load Up On Fruits And Veggies
Summer offers a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Incorporate them into your meals and snacks to add volume, nutrients, and flavor without excess calories.
Filling up on fruits and vegetables is a great idea because you are getting more volume in your diet without more calories.
Want a new summer hobby? Start a garden!
Starting your own garden is a great idea because it allows you to focus on something that does not involve eating out of boredom, and the vegetables or fruits you will get in return you can utilize.
5. Choose Lean Proteins
Look for lean proteins like grilled chicken, turkey, and fish when attending summer barbecues.
These options are often lower in calories and saturated fats compared to heavier meats such as ground beef and steak.
If you do want to enjoy burgers on the grill, stick with a lower fat ground chuck such as 90/10.
6. Control Your Portions
Practice portion control by using smaller plates and bowls. This can help you enjoy your favorite summer foods without overindulging.
When we serve food on larger plates or bowls, we tend to perceive smaller portions as inadequate, leading us to add more food to our plates.
This can result in consuming larger quantities of food than we actually need.
However, by opting for smaller plates and bowls, we create an optical illusion that makes the same amount of food appear more substantial.
The psychology behind this trick is known as the Delboeuf illusion, where the size of the empty space around the food on a plate influences our perception of portion size.
When we have less empty space on a smaller plate, our brain registers it as a fuller plate, creating a sense of satisfaction and reducing the desire for more food.
Using smaller tableware can help us practice portion control by naturally encouraging smaller serving sizes.
By visually filling up the smaller plate or bowl, we can still enjoy a visually appealing meal while consuming a more appropriate portion.
This can be particularly helpful when it comes to high-calorie foods or dishes that we tend to overindulge in.
Additionally, smaller plates and bowls promote slower eating.
As we eat, our brain needs time to receive signals of satiety. By using smaller tableware, we naturally pace ourselves as we take smaller bites and chew more thoroughly.
This allows our brain to register the feeling of fullness more accurately, reducing the chances of overeating.
It’s important to note that while smaller plates and bowls can be a helpful tool, they should be used in conjunction with mindful eating practices.
Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, savor each bite, and listen to your body’s signals of satisfaction.
Remember, the goal is to develop a healthy and balanced relationship with food, and using smaller tableware is just one strategy to support that goal.
- Related Post: How Many Calories Can You Absorb At Once?
7. Balance That Plate
Aim for a well balanced plate that includes lean protein, whole grains, and plenty of vegetables.
This combination will keep you feeling satisfied while providing essential nutrients.
This is where that garden we talked about earlier can definitely help out.
8. Watch Salad Dressings
Be mindful of high calorie dressings and toppings when enjoying summer salads.
Choose lighter options like vinaigrettes or go for dressing on the side to control the amount you use.
There are many lower calorie and lower fat varieties of our favorite salad dressings as well, such as low calorie ranch or low calorie honey mustard.
Just take a stroll down the aisle in the grocery store and see what is available.
You are bound to find a lower calorie salad dressing you will like.
9. Get Grilling
Grilling is a popular summer cooking method and for good reason.
Grilling brings people together and is just a fun summer outdoor activity.
Grilling your food is also a great substitute for alternative cooking methods such as frying your food.
Choose lean cuts of meat, remove excess fat, and marinate them to add flavor without unnecessary calories and grill away.
10. Be Cautious Of Condiments
Condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, and barbecue sauce can add up quickly in terms of calories.
Use them sparingly or choose healthier alternatives like mustard or salsa.
If you have to this not point not been including the calorie contents of condiments in your calorie intake, you should reconsider this.
11. Enjoy Frozen Treats Moderately
Ice cream, popsicles, and other frozen treats are refreshing summer indulgences.
Be mindful of portion sizes and opt for lighter options like frozen yogurt or fruit based popsicles if you are looking for lower calorie options.
You can also try lower calorie ice cream brands such as Halo Top or Yasso bars.
- Try This Recipe for Low Calorie Cottage Cheese Ice Cream!
- Try This Recipe For Low Calorie Golden Oreo Fluff!
12. Stay Active
Engage in outdoor activities that keep you active during the summer months.
Take advantage of longer daylight hours for walks, hikes, swimming, or cycling to help burn calories.
If you are not one for exercise, simply walk.
Walking is the best exercise in my opinion, and most of us to not get enough steps in.
13. Practice Mindful Eating
Slow down and savor each bite while practicing mindful eating. This technique can help you recognize fullness cues and prevent overeating.
Recognizing mindful eating cues involves being fully present and aware during the eating experience, paying attention to both physical and emotional cues related to hunger and satisfaction.
Here are some strategies to help you develop a greater awareness of your body’s signals:
- Eat with intention
Before you start eating, take a moment to check in with yourself.
Ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or if there are other reasons, such as boredom or stress, that are driving your desire to eat.
By eating with intention, you can make conscious choices about when and what to eat.
- Engage your senses
As you eat, focus on the sensory experience of the food.
Pay attention to the aroma, texture, and flavors.
Take small bites and chew slowly, allowing yourself to truly taste and enjoy each mouthful.
- Listen to your body
Tune in to your body’s physical cues.
Notice when you start feeling satisfied or comfortably full.
Pause periodically during the meal to assess your hunger levels and ask yourself if you’re still hungry or if you’re starting to feel satisfied.
- Recognize emotional cues
Be aware of any emotional triggers that may influence your eating habits.
Are you reaching for food out of habit, stress, or boredom?
Mindful eating involves acknowledging these emotional cues and finding alternative ways to address and cope with them, rather than turning to food for comfort.
- Distinguish between physical and emotional hunger
Learn to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
Physical hunger typically develops gradually and is felt in the stomach, while emotional hunger tends to come on suddenly and is often driven by specific cravings.
By recognizing the difference, you can respond to your body’s genuine needs rather than using food as a means of emotional regulation.
- Practice portion control
Pay attention to the amount of food you put on your plate and listen to your body’s cues of fullness.
Take note of how different portion sizes make you feel, both physically and emotionally.
Remember that it takes time for your brain to register fullness, so eat slowly and stop when you’re comfortably satisfied, rather than overly full.
- Be non judgmental
Approach eating without judgment or guilt. Be kind to yourself and focus on nourishing your body with balanced and nutritious food.
If you do overeat or make less healthy choices, practice self compassion and view it as an opportunity to learn from the experience rather than berating yourself.
It is so important to have a good relationship with the food you are eating.
14. Limit Alcohol Intake
Alcoholic beverages can be high in calories and may also affect your judgment when it comes to food choices.
Drink in moderation and look for lighter options like spritzers or lower calorie cocktails.
Yes, it’s summer time, and alcohol is everywhere. It is perfectly okay to have a drink every now and then when you are trying to be mindful of calorie intake!
15. Be Selective At Social Events
When attending parties or gatherings, survey the available food options before filling your plate.
Choose healthier options like vegetables with dip, shrimp, or grilled skewers over fried or high calorie appetizers.
If you do want to have something that is higher calorie, go for it! But do be aware of your calorie intake and try to plan the rest of the day so that you do not come in above your goal.
16. Use A Calorie Counting App
Use a food diary or mobile app to track your calorie intake.
An app such as MyFitnessPal or LoseIt can help you stay aware of your consumption and make adjustments if necessary.
And Yes, there are free versions of these apps so you do not have to pay for them.
I couldn’t survive without my MyFitnessPal app that is for certain.
17. Practice Self Compassion
Remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is about balance, not perfection.
Enjoy the summer, savor your favorite treats in moderation, and focus on overall well being rather than strict calorie counting.
It is so, so important to enjoy yourself and not get hung up on the calories in every single food.
If you eat too many calories one day….forget about it.
No one every completely sabotaged themselves in one day.
Calorie counting in the summer time can be hard, but there are simple ways to make it easier for you.
By following these tips, you can face the challenges of calorie counting during the summer season head on while still enjoying the abundance of delicious foods and outdoor activities.
When in doubt, stay hydrated, be mindful of your choices and overall caloric intake, and prioritize a balanced approach to maintain a healthy and enjoyable summer.
Also, consider more walking! Walking is the best thing you can do if you do nothing at all exercise wise.
Happy and healthy summer eating!