After working hard all week, you're ready for some rest and relaxation on the weekend -- and that mindset seems to extend to your diet.
You start with cocktails and high-calorie appetizers on Friday night with friends. On Saturday, you graze through the food court while shopping at the mall, then go out for a big dinner that night. On Sunday, you feel a little lazy, so you lounge around on the couch, watch television and snack on chips and dip.
Your mindless weekend binge just ruined an entire week of healthy eating.
Now the guilt sets in. You get back to your routine diet on Monday; you feel bad and vow to eat right next weekend. But then Friday comes around, and the whole cycle starts all over again.
This is a pretty common scenario. But don't despair -- with a little thought and preparation, you can continue to eat healthily and still enjoy your weekends.
Don't load up your kitchen with lots of tempting, high-calorie snacks. Keep fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grain crackers, and a little cheese and nut butter on hand for nutritious snacking.
Don't Skip Breakfast
Start Saturday and Sunday mornings with a healthy breakfast with plenty of protein and fiber. Don't ruin your breakfast with high-fat and high-calorie foods. Good choices include one egg, whole grain cereal with low-fat milk, or whole wheat toast with peanut butter.
Keep a Food Diary
Treat Yourself - Just a Little
Any diet that leaves you feeling deprived will ultimately fail. Enjoy a small piece of chocolate, candy or one scoop of ice cream during the week. Be careful with portion size, though, you don't want to take in too many extra calories.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
They're low in calories, and high in nutrients and fiber. Fiber is key -- it will keep you feeling full longer. Nibble on fresh fruits and veggies to tide you over until your next meal.
Be Careful with Menus
Most restaurants serve very large portions. Choose a cup of soup and a salad, or a salad and an appetizer for your meal. If you order a large meal, take half of it home for lunch the next day.
Be Careful at the Mall
Eat a healthy lunch before you go shopping. If you go while you're hungry, there's a better chance you'll give in to the temptation of junk foods at the food court.
Get Physical Activity
Go for a walk. Not only will you burn calories, the exercise will improve your mood and might distract you from your cravings.
It's Okay if You Slip Up Now and Then
Don't beat yourself up if you have an occasional weekend food binge. It happens to all of us at one time or another. I've got tips for getting back on your diet.
Once you learn how to continue your healthy diet on the weekends, you just might find that you have even more energy to do fun things with family and friends. Enjoy your weekend away from work. You've earned it.