Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service for our country. In order to remember the freedoms that they have given us, many people celebrate with a Memorial Day picnic. However, with all the delicious food on the table, it can be difficult to eat healthy during these times.
Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you save on the calories and keep you working towards that summer body that you have always wanted.
Picnics do not need to be an excuse to wildly stray away from your eating healthy goals. You can keep making progress towards them by focusing on the basics, yet still enjoying the day.
However, before we get to the tips on how to eat healthy at your Memorial Day picnic, let’s take a brief look at the reason that you are celebrating.
A Brief History of Memorial Day
As a day of remembrance, Memorial Day is a time to reflect and remember. This day is dedicated to remembering the fallen soldiers who so graciously laid down their lives for us.
Additionally, in the United States we are fortunate enough to have the freedoms we do because of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day is used to remember those who have fallen in the cause for freedom.
The start of Memorial Day began in the 19th century during the Civil War. As the bloodiest battle in US history, Americans began to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers.
Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is now a day where the graves of hundreds of thousands of soldiers are decorated with American flags. Furthermore, it is a day where we bring attention to prisoners of war and soldiers who are missing in action.
We commemorate this by remembering their service and celebrating our freedom. For most Americans this is most often done with Memorial Day activities that include remembrance services, parades, and picnics.
Eating Healthy at Your Memorial Day Picnic
So as we remember those who allowed us to celebrate our freedom this year, many of us will gather with family and friends for a backyard picnic. And that means that the buffet table will be filled with lots of delicious food items to choose from.
While it can be hard to eat healthy on Memorial Day, it is certainly possible. Summer is the time where we tend to shed the winter pounds, and we should not allow a celebration to completely derail us.
However, do not restrict yourself so deeply during these celebrations that you feel left out or uncomfortable. One day will never make or break your diet. Feel free to exercise the freedom you are given and eat as you would like, but still stay on track.
Check out these tips on how to save some calories at your Memorial Day celebration.
1. Skip the Hotdog or Hamburger Bun
You can almost guarantee that you will find a grill fired up when you attend a Memorial Day picnic. This is the time of year where hotdogs and hamburgers often take center stage.
However, these delicious burgers and dogs are often served on a calorically dense, high carbohydrate bun.
In fact, buns can have as many calories as the hotdog or hamburger themselves. While it is convenient to hold a burger or hotdog within a bun, opt to exclude the bun and you can quickly save on some calories.
The addition of a bun adds unnecessary calories to your plate. Not to mention, there are times when you may decide to eat both a hot dog and a hamburger which will double the intake of buns.
Therefore, in an effort to save calories but still enjoy the barbecue, skip the bun at your Memorial Day picnic. This simple tip can help you eat healthy and stay aligned with your goals.
Instead, put your hotdog or hamburger on a plate and use the same toppings you normally would. Use a fork and knife to cut up the meat and enjoy the delicious food that your friend or family member grilled for you.
This easy swap will have you feeling great about yourself on your journey to continue to eat healthy.
2. Load Up on Fruits & Veggies
Because this holiday is the unofficial start of summer, another staple of Memorial Day celebrations are fruits and vegetables. You will often find veggie trays and sliced fruit ready to eat at Memorial Day picnics.
If you want to eat healthy, load up on these fruits and veggies instead of baked beans or potato chips.
Veggies provide a nice crunch and a healthy alternative to potato chips. Potato chips are super easy to eat and can quickly rack up the calories.
However, if you opt for veggies, you can still enjoy crunch but with a healthy twist. However, watch out for creamy dipping sauces that can also pack on the calories quickly.
Ranch dressing and sour cream-based dips are often high in calories and can end up adding more calories than the potato chips that you opted out for.
In addition to the veggies, fruits are a great sweet alternative and leave you feeling great by the end of the Memorial Day picnic. Fruits are packed full of vitamins and minerals and will help fuel you throughout the day.
Again, be aware of the fruit dips that look and taste delicious, but are high in calories and often times carbs.
Pay attention to what is on the table and make the right choice for you. Grab a handful of berries or a few slices of watermelon and enjoy the celebration!
3.Choose a Popsicle Over Ice Cream
As a Memorial Day picnic tradition, you will often see Fire Cracker Popsicles and ice cream being offered for dessert.
These staples are delicious treats to enjoy out in the hot summer sun. Not only do they both help cool you down, but they both taste amazing.
However, if you have the choice, opt for the popsicle. Popsicles only have around 35 cal compared to 300 calories in a scoop of ice cream.
Made of flavored ice, popsicles are a frozen confection that truly hit the spot in the summer. Furthermore, allow yourself to truly enjoy this moment and the taste of a childhood memory.
Popsicles are a great healthy alternative and allow you to still enjoy the day without the worry of adding extra calories. Therefore, this year at your Memorial Day picnic choose the healthier option and eat a popsicle instead of ice cream.
More Than a Memorial Day Picnic
At the end of the day, we all should take a moment to realize what this holiday is truly about. While it is great to celebrate with a Memorial Day picnic and parade, it is truly a day of remembrance.
Additionally, there are thousands of people who have given their lives for us to celebrate freely. Take some time remember those who served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice.
Remember to live life to the fullest and embrace every moment, because others have given their lives so we can live ours freely.
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