You did an incredible job all week. You ate clean, nutritious meals. You meal-prepped. You followed your plan. Friday night hits.
Do you keep up your awesome habits?
Or do you crash into a 2.5 day nutritional apocalypse where you eat out at almost every meal, have way too many adult beverages, eat a lot of dessert, and overall just let your nutrition go down the drain?
Let’s face it, once you starting improving your nutritional habits, the weekend becomes a huge obstacle to progress and success.
So how do you balance eating well to fuel your body and improve your health with just letting yourself enjoy your life?
Here are 5 tips to help you survive the weekend:
Tip #1: Plan your meals
It’s normal to eat out once or twice on the weekends. But often it can turn into every single meal. Sometimes this is because simply didn’t plan for those meals.
When you do your grocery shopping, plan for the weekends too! Unless you have specific plans to be at a restaurant or party, you should be grocery shopping for nutritious foods for Saturday and Sunday night along with the rest of the week.
If you have the meal planned in advance and you have the supplies at home, you’re much less likely to order a pizza.
Tip #2: Set limits for yourself
Limit the number of meals you eat out, and limit the number of “treat” choices you can make at a restaurant or party.
It’s important to limit yourself to two treat meals or less on the weekends. If you have to eat out more than once a day, make sure all but one meal is still following your nutrition plan. There are some restaurants that make this more difficult than others, so plan accordingly.
If I’m going out to breakfast and dinner, I might try to make a smart choice at breakfast, because I know that will be easier to do. I can usually find a breakfast that fits my nutritional goals even at a restaurant.
You can set limits at each meal as well. If you are going out to dinner, try to stay on track by choosing the bottle of wine or the dessert, but maybe not both.
Tip #3: Make smart choices when eating out
You can go beyond setting specific limits by making the entire meal at a restaurant a better choice.
- Make sure there’s a vegetable in the meal you choose.
- Try going with a lower fat protein like fish or chicken versus a steak.
- Avoid an all-carb option like a giant plate of pasta.
- A salad is usually a great choice, and consider skipping the dressing or cheese.
Tip #4: Start small
When you’re eating at someone’s house (or your own), start with a small portion. Take half of what you think you want. Once you’re done eating it, wait 5 minutes. Yes, five whole minutes. Think really hard about whether you want more. Sometimes this small trick will help you not to eat way more than you need.
If you’re at a restaurant, you can do the same thing by splitting your meal in half from the very beginning. Take the leftovers home. If it’s a really unhealthy meal, consider splitting with someone else from the start or finding out if a family member would like to eat the leftovers.
My uncle used to say, The only wasted food is food you ate that you didn’t want.
Tip #5: Ask for help from your family and friends
Chances are some of your weekend binge-eating is accomplished with family and friends. You might feel like they don’t want to eat healthy with you and won’t be on board. But it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Your family and friends care about you and your health. Explain your reasons for wanting to make better choices, and let them join you in the process.
Offer to bring a healthy side to a family function, and eat more of that than the other choices.
Make your get together focused on healthy eating. Share healthy recipes with each other.
If you feel like you’re not going to be able to resist grandma’s dessert, ask her to make something you know you don’t like, or ask your partner to skip it with you. Maybe you can decide to go out for a quick walk while everyone is eating dessert so that you can avoid the situation entirely.
If you’re going to someone’s house for dinner, ask for input on the menu or offer to help them cook.
If you explain your goals and why they’re so important to you, your family and friends will be there to support you.