Summer! It is a wonderful time of year with more activity, more daylight, and more picnics and social events. This change of pace is welcome but can throw your diet into a tailspin. This blog post shares a few tricks that I use, and you can use to keep your weight loss progress going strong throughout the warm months of summer.
Low Carb Strategies for Summer – At-A-Glance
- Have a daily salad for lunch or dinner. The micronutrients, healthy fats, and meal volume provide hours of hunger satisfaction, helping you avoid snacking.
- Use a Stopper to avoid overeating. A Stopper is a food, drink, or activity that separates you from the act of eating.
- Prioritize protein at a cookout. With this focus, you’ll be drawn to acceptable foods that are naturally lower in carbs.
- Choose condiments wisely. Read labels, but lower carb condiments include mustard, hot sauce, salsa, and full-fat choices (i.e., salad dressing, vegetable dip, mayo).
- Practice intermittent fasting. Low carb dieting works well with fasting. Both strategies keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steady, making it easier to control cravings.
Low Carb Strategies for Summer Weight Loss [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- The best foods to eat daily and which to prioritize at cookouts!
- The best Stopper for summer.
- Details on intermittent fasting as an effective strategy.
Have a Daily Salad
A great weight control strategy to commit to for the summer is eating a daily salad. When you commit to this daily meal, you gain many benefits and develop a routine that makes meal prep easy.
One obvious advantage is that there is no cooking involved, so there is no hot oven or stove to contend with. You can have your salad at lunch or dinner time. Either way, you’ll get a lot of hunger satisfaction when you look at a salad as a complete meal rather than a side dish.
Salad greens and other non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates but high in vitamins, minerals, and volume. It takes a long time for your system to process that nutrient-rich amount of food, helping you feel physically and biochemically filled up. That has the wonderful side-effect of controlling hunger without the fear of a sugar crash that makes you crave a snack.
A salad also serves as the perfect foundation for adding healthy fats as salad toppers. Dietary fat further delays the onset of hunger and makes salad an enjoyable thing to eat. I eat a salad every day and truly look forward to it.
While I may make small changes in the salad based on leftovers on hand, my typical salad consists of a bed of greens topped with avocado, walnuts, feta cheese, and raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Because I eat this salad regularly, grocery shopping and meal prep become routine, saving me the aggravation of figuring out what to eat.
I also use a high-fat, no-sugar-added dressing. You can buy salad dressing or make your own at home. Either way, I recommend avoiding processed vegetable oil, like soybean oil, and opting instead for a beneficial oil like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
Use a Stopper
A daily salad will keep your diet on track and fill your stomach. However, we are all human, and we have been programmed to eat when food is available. Therefore, even when your stomach is full, your brain will tell you to keep eating. To overcome this desire, you can use a Stopper. A Stopper is a food, drink, or activity that separates you from the act of eating so you can prevent overeating.
I routinely use LMNT electrolyte supplement as a summertime Stopper after a meal. It is enjoyable and takes time to drink, so my stomach has time to get the message to my brain that I am full. Electrolytes are essential minerals that your body needs to regulate muscle and nerve activity and stay hydrated.
Hydration is important any time of the year, particularly during the summer months when you lose water to the environment. We have been conditioned to think that increasing water takes care of our hydration needs, but proper hydration is a two-step process requiring water and electrolytes.
I simply stir a quarter teaspoon of flavored LMNT into a cup of bubbly water, like seltzer. It tastes great, so I know that I have something to look forward to even when my meal is over. And, since it takes time to drink, it allows me to comfortably move away from the desire to keep eating.
Prioritize Protein at Cookouts
Having a daily salad and using a Stopper are two low carb strategies that will help you successfully navigate the summer months. But summer also means cookouts and picnics that are filled with high-carb traps. The low carb strategy to use at a picnic is to prioritize protein.
This trick is all about controlling your focus to make the best food choices. Without this focus, your brain will take your eyes to the sugary side dishes and carb-heavy desserts. If, instead, you walk up to the food table with the thought of prioritizing protein, your eyes will be drawn to acceptable foods that are naturally lower in carbs, such as burgers and other meats from the grill, cheese, deviled eggs, nuts, and seeds.
There are many temptations at a cookout, but filling your stomach with low-carb protein choices will keep hunger under control. When hunger is satisfied, it is much easier to say no thank you to dessert. However, even if you pick the right protein, you must be aware of sauces and spreads. This takes us to the next low carb strategy for summertime, choose condiments wisely.
Choose Condiments Wisely
When you first start low carb dieting, it is eye-opening to notice how much sugar and high fructose corn syrup is added to condiments and how small the serving size of the condiment is. For instance, a serving of ketchup is one tablespoon. It contains five grams of carbs, four grams of added sugar, and lists high fructose corn syrup as the third most prominent ingredient.
A couple of squirts of ketchup on a burger can easily creep your carb intake up to a point that impacts the effectiveness of your low carb diet. Unfortunately, the only way to ensure that a condiment does not contain hidden sugar is to read the label.
If that is not an option, typically safer low carb condiments include mustard, hot sauce, salsa, oil and vinegar-based salad dressing, full-fat vegetable dip, and real mayonnaise, not Miracle Whip, which contains high fructose corn syrup.
Even though these are safer choices, sugar has a way of making it into just about anything. Therefore, the best rule of thumb when it comes to condiments is, when in doubt, do without. This leads me to one final summertime weight loss strategy: splitting your day between periods of eating and not eating or fasting.
Practice Intermittent Fasting
Low carb dieting works well with intermittent fasting. Both strategies keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steady, making it easier to avoid the rapid onset of hunger that happens when blood sugar crashes. I have many blog posts on intermittent fasting strategies.
However, for the summer months, keep it simple by shortening your eating window to the mid-day hours. For instance, break your overnight fast with your daily salad at 11 am and finish dinner by 7 pm. To make skipping dessert easier, use a Stopper.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!