I know, I know, you really don’t want to hear this. In fact, you probably think reading this will spoil your fun. I never forget posting something on Twitter for the magazine during Jazz Fest about eating healthy and received a lot of hate…ummm. I will continue anyway...
If you want to enjoy the parades, have fun, yet still keep your goal of staying healthy, you really can do it. I think the most difficult part will be ignoring your family and friends when they tease you about your healthier food and cocktail choices.
First step is to plan ahead. Grab that rolling ice chest and pack some healthy treats.
Here are some ideas:
-Bottled water (a MUST-pack enough for all day/night)
-Lara Bars (or protein bars that don’t have extra sugar in them)
-Homemade trail mix (almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, raisins)
-Wheat wraps with lean meat
-Veggie sticks (celery, carrots, cucumber) and hummus or guacamole
-Kale chips or zucchini oven chips (make your own) –
-Good quality (organic, grass fed) beef jerky
-Apple slices with nut butter
Yes, I know, Popeye’s Fried Chicken is synonymous with parades (I was born and raised in New Orleans so I am well aware :-) ). So if you feel you must have some of that Popeye’s, lets compromise. Take the skin off the breast and/or thighs and eat just the meat. Oh wait, I know, but the skin is the best part? I hear ya! So eat the wings and/or drumsticks for the skin. Will that work?
Heading to the fast food place for a quick lunch or dinner? Most fast food places now offer Grilled Chicken (about 250-350 calories), so that’s what you should order.
If you are the lucky one who either lives on the parade route or knows someone who does, then we are looking at many options that will be spread on the food table. Decisions, decisions, decisions. So here goes- grab the turkey sandwich or the finger sandwiches (around 200 calories) and pass on the muffaletta (950 calories). Choose red beans and/or gumbo and hold the rice (yes, trust me, it’s still delicious). Choose crawfish! Yes, crawfish is now available and so very good! Chips and salsa over the cheese dips, 7 layer dips and spinach dip (yes, I love those too, but remember 2 weeks of partying and parades we need to choose our calories wisely)!
Ok, so let’s talk alcohol. Most can drink all day and all night. So this step is very important. Slow it down! Drink water, and a lot of it! Keep hydrated, it's so very important. I promise you will thank me. Only have one drink per hour. It’s a long day/long night. You want to enjoy it. You want to remember it. So let’s slow that drinking down and add lots of water in-between. So what will you drink? Most will drink beer. I know you don’t like this, but if you can, go for the light beer. We are talking around 80-120 calories. Don’t like that idea and love those daiquiris? Before you order think about this, a medium size pina colada has about 1540 calories in that one drink. That’s a lot of empty calories going into your body from that one daiquiri, so skip the fancy drinks and stick with either beer or wine, it will save you a lot of calories.
So there it is, some healthy tips that you can use to enjoy the parades while staying on that healthy track. And don’t forget, swimsuit weather is right around the corner! Yep, I know, you don’t want to think about that right now, but on March 1st you will.