Weekends are like kryptonite to a strong and healthy diet plan. We go hard all week, and then everything falls apart come Saturday morning.
And it doesn’t even seem to matter whether we’re busy or not. Spend the day lounging on the couch and you can almost hear the ice cream calling your name from the freezer.
Spend the day running errands and watching kids sports practices and you’ll undoubtedly succumb to unhealthy foods and snacks like corndogs and potato chips. It’s almost like you can’t win.
But there’s some good news. There are some simple tricks to help reduce the unhealthy foods your family consumes on the weekend. And you don’t have to be perfect.
Here are six things you can do to eat healthier on the weekends.
1. Create a meal and snack plan
One of the biggest reasons why diets fail on the weekends is that we don’t plan for those days. With limited time to have lunch at work, we know we have to plan our meals for the weekdays. But on the weekend, things are much looser.
Even if you’re going to be relaxing all weekend, you’ll fare much better if you know what you’re going to eat ahead of time. We never make the best decisions when we’re hungry.
2. Clear the pantry
If you’re committed to eating cleaner and getting rid of unhealthy snacks, take the plunge and get rid of all the snacks in your pantry. You can keep some of the healthier ones like seaweed snacks, trail mix and pita chips. But you’re going to want to toss any junk food that’s going to tempt you to stray from your healthy eating plan.
3. Shop at farmer’s markets
If you’re looking for something to do on the weekend that won’t derail your healthy eating plan, consider a family trip to the farmer’s market. You’re still going to find some sugary foods, but most options will be healthier than you’ll find at the grocery store. And you’re more likely to go home with fresh fruits and vegetables too.
4. Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a great way for the adults in the family to curb late-night snacking, which is often one of the biggest problems in any healthy eating plan. It’s easy to tell the kids they can’t have snacks, but it’s much more difficult to practice restraint yourself.
IF is also helpful for reducing alcohol cravings in those problematic evening hours. And we all know alcohol can lead to over-consumption of unhealthy food.
Intermittent fasting involves fasting for a set period of time (anywhere between 12 and 20 hours) on most days. If you choose a 16 hour fast, for example, you can stop eating at a 6:00 dinner and fast until breakfast the next day at 10 am.
There are many health benefits associated with fasting, but it’s not for the kiddos. You don’t have to feed them junk, but be sure they’re eating when they’re hungry.
5. Drink more water
This isn’t going to sound like a ton of fun, but whenever you get a craving for junk food, have a large glass of water. It’ll fill your stomach enough to curb the craving for the moment, and with any luck, it will pass.
Besides, oftentimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just thirsty. In those moments, drinking water can solve the problem.
6. Eat more protein
If you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, you may have more cravings for unhealthy foods. So be sure you’re getting protein from a good easily digestible source every day. If you’re worried about your protein intake, a protein shake may be a good idea.
Weekends can be rough on your healthy living plan, but with a few tweaks, they’re totally doable. You’ve got this.