With the long weekend just around the corner, I have many clients asking me this question. “How should I handle my nutrition when I know I’ll be having some extra drinks and fun foods? Should I save all of my calories for later in the day?”
There isn’t a one size fits all approach here. Factors that will influence how you manage nutrition during a holiday are:
- Your goals, ie: performance or weight loss?
- Are you preparing the food, or is someone hosting?
- How long is the holiday?
- Do you have access to a kitchen/fridge/stove?
- Are you comfortable with bringing a scale and weighing your own food?
- Are you going to be working out and getting a lot of NEAT?
Everyone’s circumstances are unique, so each individual approach will be different. Here are some general guidelines I suggest for clients, no matter what their goals are.
- Prioritize protein and fiber all day.
- Eat whole foods with lots of water so you feel nice and full.
- Don’t go to the BBQ hungry with the intention of using all of your calories! This can lead to inhibition around food.
- Make sure you drink enough water all day and then continue to have water between beverages.
- Don’t stress about precise macronutrients – follow the steps above and use a plate model to balance your nutrition.
As a nutrition coach I can fine tune my suggestions for each client. Usually if someone is away for over a week with access to a kitchen, we’re going to be a bit more precise. If someone is camping for the weekend with their friends and family, we’re going to relax a little.
Most clients are guided by their personal goals when it comes to striking the right balance. If we decide to let it rip every weekend and we have weight loss goals – we cannot be disappointed with the results we get. If we’re drinking hard every weekend and not seeing our performance improve, we need to manage those expectations.
Your balance is something you can explore. Pay attention to the fundamentals noted above and chances are you are going to have fun playing and relaxing in the sun, as well as continue to make progress with your health and fitness goals.