Summer, my time of year! Picnics, block parties, backyard barbecues they’re always a big part of summer shenanigans. However, if you’re not careful, you can easily add a few unwanted pounds at these events. I’m going to share some ways that you can enjoy those summer parties without the guilt, and without gaining weight.

Being careful doesn’t mean you have to be a summer bummer; it just means being a little more intentional about what you let into your body. You can still turn up at girls’ trips and summer parties without compromising your healthy lifestyle.

With a few helpful tips, you can let your hair down without worrying about denting your health and fitness routines. If you are mindful enough and you follow these suggestions, you can enjoy summertime with your loved ones without stacking on a single pound.

Here are a few easy tips on how to enjoy summer parties without gaining weight.

  1.  Stay active

Gaining weight is a simple process. If you consume more energy than you expend, prepare to say hello to those extra waistline inches. While the summer will be a food filled period, it can also be activity-filled as well.

Pack your summer festivities with physical activities and sports; you can even make it an entire part of the process. For example, instead of driving to a picnic site, you and your friends can park a distance away and hike to your destination. So even if you splurge a little during your meal, the hike will create that calorific balance that you need.

    2.      Practice portion control

When it comes to fitness and weight management, more often than not, it’s less about what you eat, and more about how much of it you’re eating. You may not know precisely the calorific value of everything on the menu, but you can stay safe by controlling your portion sizes.

Since you obviously cannot show up at summer parties with a measuring cup in hand, you can improvise with your fist. A fist size of food will be equivalent to one cup of it. Use that comparison to control your portion sizes.

    3.       Eat before you show up

I know this one sounds like a real bummer. But really, the worst thing you can do is to arrive hungry at a party, especially when you are eating gluten-free and very particular about fitness. To keep your calories in check, and not end up spending your time at the party in the bathroom, eat a healthy snack before you head out. That way, you won’t be so hungry when you arrive that you begin to consume anything you see and make bad choices and get sick.

Something with protein and fiber will keep you feeling full longer and stave off the desire to overeat. An apple with almond butter or oatmeal with a hard-boiled egg are good ideas. Here’s a blog post I wrote last summer on different foods with a healthier swing:

Unique Gluten Free Grilled Foods Bring Big Flavor

       4.        Take it easy with the booze

I know this one is going to be hard for a lot of us. I mean, what’s a good summer party without some wine and fruit drinks. You may have eaten only salads, but what was in your cup?

If you get hot and thirsty, as is common at summer parties, drink water instead. If you think water is too dull for your summer spirits, you could squeeze in some fresh lime or berries to switch things up. Like the fizz? Try seltzer water infused with fruit. One of my favorite infused water flavors is pineapple or grapefruit.

  1. Stick to your workout routine

Beyond watching what you eat at parties, try not to miss your workouts. You can also add an extra session if you have plans to go out. That way, you build up a calorie deficit before the fun begins.

  1. Plan your meals

In addition to an extra sweat session, plan your meals before and after your gatherings. Parties tend to have more carb offerings than protein, so cut back on your carb intake the day of or after the party.

Note, this doesn’t mean you should skip a meal. Doing this to try to save calories will only backfire and leave you more likely to gorge at your next meal.

Get Your Groove on While Keeping the Pounds Off

Just because you’re on an exercise and fitness journey, it doesn’t mean you have to be a buzzkill this summer. You can still get your groove on while keeping the pounds off.  At the end of the day, if you follow these tips, you might even lose weight instead of the other way around.

What about you? What do you do to enjoy summer parties without gaining weight? Let me know in the comments.