The benefits of eating clean are undeniable. A diet full of whole healthy foods is good for your energy levels, your waistline, skin, hair, and your overall health. Unfortunately, the best clean eating diet can unravel when the weekend comes around. Suddenly, the processed, manufactured, junk foods you’ve been avoiding find their way into your diet, along with restaurant meals in giant portions and a fair share of calorie-rich drinks.
If you want to stay on track, and not eat anything you’ll regret come Monday morning, here are some tips and tricks to help you stay focused and healthy all weekend long.
Make a Plan
If your meal planning only goes as far as Friday’s lunch for the week, you are in trouble. Planning out your meals, including the weekends, makes it easy to keep it clean.
Prep for Success
Freezer dinners, pre-chopped veggies, chicken breasts that have been grilled or baked, and pre-portioned servings of fruits and nuts can save you from the Saturday afternoon snack attack. Always prep some food for the next day, even if it means throwing some leftovers in a container in the fridge.
Plan for Fun Social Events
Fun with friends doesn’t have to mean ditching your clean eating diet. If you have clean snacks on hand, and beverages such as sparkling- or fruit-infused waters, you can handle social engagements with grace and style.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
If you have the opportunity to sleep a little later on the weekend, don’t let that stop you from waking up and having a clean breakfast. People who skip breakfast tend to compensate by eating more calories and snacks later in the day. A good breakfast with plenty of protein can fill you up and give you the energy to tackle your weekend.
Allow a Cheat Meal
If you have a date night with your spouse, an evening out with friends, or some other special occasion planned, it’s ok to divert from your diet every once in awhile. A cheat meal can keep you from feeling deprived, so feel free to savor a delicious meal on a special occasion without feeling guilty.
Split a Dish
Restaurant servings are significantly larger than what you would normally eat at home. Splitting an entree, or dessert, allows you to indulge in a dish without overdoing it on the calories, refined carbs, sugar, or fat.
Then Get Right Back on Track
So you cheated, and indulged yourself on a weekend meal. Get right back on track with your next one. Many people are guilty of cheating on their diet, and then careening over the edge of oblivion and binge eating for days after. Don’t let a cheat day become an entire cheat weekend.
Pack Your Cooler
If your weekend schedule leaves you with little room to breathe, much less eat, be sure to pack a cooler full of clean eating meals, healthy snacks, and water before you leave the house in the morning. If you go all day without eating while running errands and shuttling kids to soccer games and back, you may be tempted to make an unhealthy food choice. Having a cooler full of healthy options can keep you going strong and focused.
Don’t Drink your Calories
Are you indulging in a coffee-shop creation, then having a drink with friends later in the day? Liquid calories can add up fast, and you can save hundreds of calories by cutting back on coffee drinks and alcohol over the weekend.
A lazy weekend on the couch doing a marathon run of your favorite show may sound relaxing, but it won’t keep you focused on your health goals. Plus, it puts you way too close to the kitchen. Get out and get moving on the weekends. Try a new yoga class, go outside for a hike, or head to the gym for a legs day. Putting your intention towards staying healthy will motivate you to eat the right pre- and post-workout snacks to fuel your workout.
The weekend doesn’t have to be an excuse to completely throw your diet by the wayside. You can still eat clean, have fun, and lose weight; even if you go out for a dinner at your favorite restaurant.