So, you blew it with the calorie bank this Fourth of July weekend. Your fancy food tracking app pretty much had a meltdown after that fifth plant-based hot dog. Or perhaps you simply went a little overboard in the chocolate fudgesicles department. Either way, you’ll be the first to admit you veered off your healthy eating and weight loss goals and here we are. The good news? You’re not alone on Team Holiday Weekend Overeating, and with a few savvy tips to switch up your MO this week, you’ll be back on track with your nutrition goals in no time. Regardless of where you fall on the vegan spectrum, read on for our favorite tips to fight belly bulge after a long weekend of overindulgence.
Start with your next meal.
“If you [woke up and felt] a food hangover, get back on track immediately with the next meal. This is really the best route, instead of saying you’ll wait till after lunch or after dinner…or after tomorrow,” Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a plant-based registered dietitian in the New York City area, wisely counsels. Her suggestions? A cauliflower smoothie or creamy smoothie bowl. If you’re looking for more shake-spiration, check out our Smoothies of the Day.
Focus on getting enough greens at each meal.
One of the most nutritious side effects of going plant-based? A whole world of greens, from collards to arugula, fast become go-to’s when you’re planning meals.“Vegetables are unequivocally good for us and there is no denying that! Vegetables provide us with plenty of micronutrients and fiber to keep us healthy and satiated,” shares Tiffany Ma, RD . “Making sure we get a vegetable in at every meal is a great way to boost the overall nutrition content of our meals and get back on track to reaching our weight loss goals.” These days, we’re loving these Grilled Tempeh Collard Wraps With Mango Salsa & Spicy Almond Butter Sauce.
Make sure your pantry is stocked with plenty of healthy plant-based eats.
“It’s challenging to go for the healthy choice if it’s not available in your home. Having a holiday weekend can throw off your routine,” says Shena Jaramillo, MS, RD, who recommends making a grocery list before you shop “to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice.” Some vegan pantry staples we love include canned beans, tomato paste and sauce, canned coconut milk, canned corn, nuts, peanut butter, and seaweed, to name a few.
Perhaps the corollary to Jaramillo’s grocery list guidelines above, Trista K. Best, Registered Dietitian with Balance One, says “Simply don’t buy, or get rid of, the unhealthy junk food you’ve been eating through the holidays. This doesn’t mean you eat it until it is all gone and then start making better choices.” We’re looking at you, freezer stash of sugar-laden fudgesicles. “Begin by removing the bad stuff and restocking with nutrient-dense foods. While I consider myself a plant-forward dieter I find it easier to make the necessary changes if I go completely plant-based for a week or more. This allows me to get over my cravings more quickly and reduces inflammation that has built up from bad dieting.”
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
We, too, overdid it on the red, white, and bloody mary front. (Not to mention all those aforementioned wieners.) “If you overdid it over the weekend, you may have taken in a good amount of salt, since both restaurant foods and processed snack foods may contain higher amounts of sodium,” says Gorin. “It helps to stay hydrated and get some of that sodium out of your system. Water is great, of course, as are foods that contain potassium, as this nutrient works to counteract sodium,” she adds, noting that a nutrient-dense smoothie made with avocado is a good choice.