Food for Thought

Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.

Are You Running On Empty?

Are You Running On Empty?

If I’ve learned anything through coaching women through sustainable health changes, it’s this: Most women don’t check in with ourselves nearly enough. Even when we’re stressed out, we keep chugging forward, helping everyone but ourselves, until we find ourselves running on empty and ready to break.

This is the time of year where life always starts feeling a bit frantic. 

Kids are heading back to school. Families are trying to squeeze in that last little bit of summer fun. Temperatures are dropping. We’re starting to think about the holiday season, which will be here before we know it.

This year, with the added stress of the pandemic, that sense of overwhelm seems to be hitting twice as hard. So if you feel like your batteries are totally depleted, you’re not alone.

When we get to THAT level of exhaustion, even taking time for self-care can begin to feel like a chore. Sure, you could take a long, indulgent bubble bath … But that would put you three steps behind on everything else you hoped to accomplish today, which would just leave you feeling even more stressed.

So today, I wanted to talk a little bit about how our simplest, most seemingly mundane activities can ALSO be a form of recharging, if we look at them through the right lens. 

This week (like most weeks), I had a long list of tasks in front of me. We had appointments at the dentist. We took my son to apply for his learner’s permit. I need to do my daily workouts. And I met up with an old high school friend for dinner. Add that to my work/coaching schedule and whatever unexpected stuff comes up, and you can see that there’s not a lot of room leftover for traditional “self-care” activities.

But here’s the thing: I know that checking off those tasks is going to make me feel better. For me, crossing things off a to-do list releases mental weight and leaves me feeling lighter. So even though I wouldn’t typically label going to the dentist as my preferred form of recharging, it IS going to put me in a better headspace and leave me with a sense of accomplishment. (Plus it *is* true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.)

Do you ever feel that way about tasks in your life? Do you experience that same sense of relief after a really productive, focused day? 

If so, I want to challenge you to reframe you’re looking at your tasks for the week ahead. See if you can approach some of your must-dos from a slightly different angle to make them feel less like sources of stress and MORE like opportunities for recharging.

Looking for more tips on practical ways to eat, move, and recharge more intentionally? Join me over in my free Facebook Group, Never Diet Again, where I post daily tips, inspiration, and strategies to help you live a more sustainably healthy life. 

Are you running on empty?

As they say, "gotta put the mask on yourself before you help others"

Posted by Dawn McGee, Nutrition Coach on Thursday, August 27, 2020

Posted - 9/08/20 (Tue)


How to Recharge on Vacation

How to Recharge on Vacation

How to Recharge on Vacation

For many of us, vacations are the ultimate way to recharge our batteries. For months and months, we look forward to our chance to get away, unplug from our work lives, and spend a few days exploring somewhere new and doing whatever we want.

So why is it that we sometimes come back from vacation …feeling like we need a vacation?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a proponent of active vacations. While some people might long to lay on a beach for a week straight, I enjoy doing, seeing, experiencing, and milking every single moment of a trip. But I’ll be totally candid—there have been a few times when I returned home from a trip feeling just as exhausted as I was when I left.

So how can we stay active on our vacations without nullifying their recharge potential? Like most things in life and in health, it’s all about balance.

On our most recent vacation, we tried to strike a better balance between activity and rest. We took a socially distant trip to our family-favorite locale, Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont. While there, we enjoyed many of our usual activities—hiking, taking walks, and playing volleyball, to name a few. 

But we also focused a little bit more on recharging activities, like catching up with some old friends who were also vacationing, listening to some music outdoors on the green, and enjoying some great wine without a care in the world. As an ambivert, I enjoyed a little bit of alone time, as well as lots of time hanging out with our small group.

Your version of a recharging vacation might look similar to mine … Or, depending on your personal preferences, it may look a bit different. Either way, it’s all good! The important thing is that you use your time away to soothe your soul and recenter yourself before heading back to “the real world.”

So let me know … How are you vacationing this year? Even if your vacation is a “staycation,” I’d love to hear more about what recharging looks like in your life right now. Leave your thoughts below!



Posted - 9/01/20 (Tue)


Do You Feel Like Your Choices Are Being Taken Away From You?

Do You Feel Like Your Choices Are Being Taken Away From You?

Do You Feel Like Your Choices Are Being Taken Away From You?

How Making Intentionally Healthy Choices Can Help Put You Back in the Driver’s Seat of Your Life During This Challenging Time

In the midst of this pandemic, trying to make safe and healthy choices can leave us feeling a bit like we have our hands tied. 

How do we plan for the future right now? 

How do we make decisions about whether to enjoy the things that give our life the most meaning—celebrations with friends, long-awaited travels, or holiday get-togethers, for example—knowing that every decision to live life “normally” might put us and our loved ones at risk?

In some ways, you might be starting to feel a little bit like your ability to make choices has been taken from you. After all—so many of the choices we make have to be viewed through the lens of the COVID crisis. And for most of us, any choice deemed too risky is immediately taken off the plate.

While it’s true that we’re living in a very different world than we did just six months ago—and while being able to make fewer choices in our everyday life can certainly be frustrating—I’ve personally found a lot of peace by focusing on the choices I CAN still make. 

Even now, when so many of us feel a bit helpless, you DO still have a great deal of power and influence in your own life.

So today, I want to challenge you to consider a few choices that are still very much yours to make. While these choices may seem small in the grand scheme of things, each one of them impacts the way we feel about ourselves, our daily life … and by extension, our place in the world at large.

Choices You Can Make Every Single to Day to Live a Happier, Fuller, Healthier Life

Choices About What You Eat

If you’re thinking that what you eat every day has little bearing on the rest of your life, think again! While many of us have been culturally trained to look at food as a source of comfort or solace during stressful times, food can ALSO be a source of power, energy, and resilience. 

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or lethargic, try eating super clean for just a week and see what that does for you. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that will magically send all your worries packing, but you might find that improved nutrition gives you that boost of mental clarity and natural energy that you need to deal with stressful situations more effectively.

(Bonus: Wondering whether a week of intense focus on your nutrition could help put you back on track? Check out my blog, “Should You Do a Detox Week?” right here.)

Choices About How/How Much You Move

Have you been doing more Netflixing during this season of quarantine and social distancing? For many families, our caution about being out and about this summer has led to a much more sedentary season than normal. Like eating junk food, sitting around too much can lead to feelings of lethargy or even depression. Add this to the fact that a lack of physical activity usually also means weight gain and decreased physical health, and that’s a recipe for disaster.

You may not be quite ready to head back to your gym yet (I’m certainly not), but that doesn’t mean you can’t increase your movement! Try going for daily walks around your neighborhood, checking out local hiking trails on your weekends, or even just finding a good YouTube workout routine that you can do from the air-conditioned comfort of your living room. If you’re not quite ready to take on an intense workout regimen, just start where you are, do what you can, and focus on moving a little bit more each day in whatever way makes sense for you.

Choices About Recharging

The phrase “self-care” gets tossed around a lot these days, but especially during times like these, it’s SO important to take time for the little things that bring you peace and joy. If you come to a place where you feel listless, angry, or just plain overwhelmed and tired, being intentional about finding “me-time” can help you clear out negativity, recharge your batteries, and get back to feeling like YOU.

Are you struggling with making good choices right now? Do you feel like you’ve lost control of your health? 

Get in touch with me! Coaching women to success with their health goals is one of my greatest joys in life, and I’d be more than happy to help you establish some strategies for healthier, happier living during this challenging time. Click here to connect with me in my free Facebook Community, Never Diet Again.

Posted - 8/25/20 (Tue)


How to Get Your Vacation Fix During Covid

How to Get Your Vacation Fix During Covid

For many families, summer is the time of year where we get our vacation fix. In 2020 though, the rules have obviously changed. Everywhere we look, people have been (rightfully) canceling events, postponing celebrations, and putting long-awaited vacations on hold. And even though we know that social distancing and staying close to home are necessary, it’s hard not to feel like we’ve been deprived of one of our major tools for recharging our batteries. 

So how can we continue to recharge without endangering ourselves, our communities, or the locals in the areas where we’d normally vacation? Is it even possible to get that same vacation fix during the time of COVID?

For my family, the answer was yes. We actually just returned home from our annual summer vacation, during which we observed all recommended social distancing guidelines. So today, I want to talk a little bit about how we enjoyed some safe-but-effective recharge time away from home—and how your family can do the same, even if traveling isn’t really an option right now.

How My Family Vacationed During the Pandemic

Back in the spring, my family canceled our would-be family vacation to Florida. While we desperately wanted to leave New England in favor of some sunshine, we recognized that doing so would have been irresponsible and hazardous to our health and the health of others.

However, when family vacation #2 rolled around in early August, I felt a little more confident about our ability to take the trip. Here’s why:

  1. We chose a location at a mountain resort—Smugglers' Notch, Vermont.

  2. We’ve been to Smugglers' Notch many times in the past and knew that we’d have plenty of safe outdoor activities to choose from.

  3. We planned on socializing with just a few other families who would be traveling at the same time. Everyone involved had been able to meet quarantine guidelines and was in favor of practicing necessary social distancing protocol.

With all these facts working in our favor, we loaded up and headed to Vermont. There, we spent the week playing volleyball, catching up with old friends, and simply enjoying some time away from the house. 

While we did have to forego a few of our usual activities—hanging out indoors with friends and hot tubs both seemed like a bad idea—we still had a fabulous time. We came home feeling totally recharged, and our craving for travel has been satiated for the time being.

Ideas for Vacationing in 2020

If your family has a similar ability to visit a familiar destination with familiar people, then perhaps you’ve had no issue figuring out how to travel this year. However, for people who can’t meet quarantine guidelines, or who may be choosing to stay close to home for other reasons, there are still plenty of options! Here are a few ideas around recharging/vacationing given the current health crisis:

  • Choose local, isolated vacation destinations. A weekend alone in a mountain cabin or beach house would do your soul a world of good! Or just pack up and spend a day at a local beach (bring lots of food, water and sunscreen!).

  • Take advantage of local camping spots. If you can’t make it to an actual campground, you might even consider camping out in your backyard for a night!

  • Turn your vacation into a staycation. Take a week off work and spend that week catching up on activities you’ve been meaning to get to for a while. This could be a good time to try a new hobby, start a fall garden, or finish a long-term home improvement project.

How Are You Vacationing This Year?

If you’ve found a creative means of getting your vacation fix, I’d love to hear about it. Comment below and let me know what you’ve been up to!

Looking to expand your virtual community in this time of physical distance? You’re invited to join Never Diet Again—my free Facebook group for women who want to make healthy choices that last a lifetime, not just a moment in time. Click here to join now!

Posted - 8/18/20 (Tue)


How Do Introverts, Extroverts, & Ambiverts Recharge?

How Do Introverts, Extroverts, & Ambiverts Recharge?

One of my core beliefs is that the best way to make real progress in our health goals is to view our health not as a straight line going from point A to point B, but a triangle consisting of three points: eating, moving, and recharging. In order for positive progress to take place, each part must be present and balanced.

Today, I want to talk about that oh-so-important leg of the triangle: Recharge. 

With times being what they are, many of us are feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally drained. This means taking the time to recharge is more important than ever. The tricky thing about recharging, though, is understanding what activity puts YOU at peace—because in our self-care routines, just as in our nutrition and fitness routines, what works for one person might be a total miss for another.

So how can you be sure you’re selecting activities that will actually recharge your batteries, rather than activities that just sound like solid self-care habits? It really starts with understanding yourself and what makes you tick.

Recharging Looks Substantially Different For Introverts, Extroverts, & Ambiverts

Perhaps it’s an obvious thing to say, but depending on whether you identify as an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, you’re likely going to prefer vastly different self-care activities. If you’re not 100% sure which of these categories you most likely belong to, start by thinking about what activities make you feel energized and what makes you feel drained. For example, does being in a room full of people sound like a way to relax . . . or does it sound like a chore of its own? 


If you find that you feel the most recharged after some quality alone time, you’re most likely an introvert. This means that you’ll exert more energy when in a crowd and prefer to be alone while recharging. 


On the other hand, if hanging out in a room full of people sounds like the kind of activity that would leave you feeling super high-energy and recharged, you’re most likely an extrovert. This means that you get your energy from others, so being social will help you to recharge rather than drain you more. 


Those are the two extremes—but what about for the rest of us? For many people in the world, hanging out in large groups of people sounds like a fun activity, but not necessarily a rejuvenating one. You might really like being around people, but at the end of the day, you really need to be alone or with a small group of close friends and family to recharge. If that sounds like you, you’re what we’d consider an ambivert.

Personally, I identify as an ambivert. I love working with people and being in crowds, but I also draw my energy from an array of solo activities, including a great exercise session, time spent with a book, being outdoors, and enjoying a glass of wine and tapas out on my deck. 

Why Does This Matter?

Knowing whether you’re more introverted, extroverted, or a combination of both is really just a practice in self-awareness. It helps you better understand your own needs. Once you’ve identified yourself as an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, you’ll have better insight into what activities will get you the most “bang for your buck,” to speak, when it’s time to recharge.

How Can Introverts, Extroverts, & Ambiverts Handle Recharging During the Pandemic?

Since we’re social distancing, you might think that this time would be easy for introverts. 

After all, if alone time is what leaves them feeling refreshed, they must be in paradise, right?? Interestingly, this isn’t exactly true. While we might not be going to be events like concerts or festivals, time spent with our family doesn’t necessarily count as true alone time. Because of this, it’s important for introverts to make sure they are finding time away from their family so that they can recharge and be the best versions of themselves. 

Conversely, we can all probably assume that extroverts are struggling right now. 

If you’re an extrovert, you’re likely stressed out by all this time indoors and all your missed opportunities for social engagements. While extroverts might appreciate the extra time with their families, they’re likely really craving that external socialization. In this case, it’s important to get creative with your social hours. Try planning activities like Zoom hangouts or even a socially distanced walk when you really need in-person socialization. 

If you’re an ambivert, you will of course need to find the right balance for you.

Spend a little extra time checking in with yourself throughout the day. One afternoon, you might really need a long walk by yourself. A different day, you might benefit most from having a Zoom coffee date with a friend. Don’t be afraid to be vocal about your needs—your need for variety isn’t flaky or indecisive, it’s simply a sign of knowing what you want. 

Regardless of What Personality Type You Feel Most Aligned With, Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Approaches to Recharging

You might be really surprised by what helps you unwind! If you’re an extrovert, give yourself some occasional space for quiet reflection. If you’re an introvert, don’t negate the value of a great conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. And if you’re an ambivert . . . Keep going with the flow. :)

However you identify, I want to take an opportunity to invite you to my online community made up of women with ALL KINDS of different personalities and interests. Never Diet Again is my free Facebook group for women who want to make healthy changes for a lifetime, not just for a moment in time, and we’d love for you to join us. Click here to check it out!


Posted - 8/04/20 (Tue)


Who Runs the World? A Conversation With WIM (Women in Motion) Run the World Founder, Carla Frank

Who Runs the World? A Conversation With WIM (Women in Motion) Run the World Founder, Carla Frank

Who Runs the World? A Conversation With WIM (Women in Motion) Run the World Founder, Carla Frank


This week, I’m honored to be bringing you a conversation with a woman after my own heart—Carla Frank. Carla is the fearless founder of WIM (Women in Motion) Run the World: A running and walking group that brings activity to everyone, no matter where you are in your fitness journey.

Two of the big-picture goals of WIM include:

  1. Literally running across the world via races and walks in nature, and

  2. Encouraging women to travel globally and enjoy safe, exciting retreats as a group


. . . And while you might imagine that COVID has interrupted their normal habits somewhat, Carla is proof that we really can find a way to stay active and connected no matter WHAT crazy circumstances we’re faced with.


In general, when I do interviews with other women on a mission, I love to talk with women who have great stories. And I have to be honest: Carla’s is one of my all-time favorites. From a sedentary childhood, to a shocking divorce, to a successful athlete and business woman, to a global traveler, Carla is a great example of just how much women can accomplish in our lives if we get focused and prioritize our goals.

In this video, Carla and I talk about:

  • How she got started with running in the first place

  • How time in nature can help us heal from stress and adversity

  • How to walk, run, and hike without experiencing pain or injuring your body

  • How to travel the healthy way

  • ...and more!


Movement is one of the legs of our Triangle of Health and like everything else, it is so important to prevent injuries so that you can keep a consistent exercise habit. So if you’ve considered starting a walking/running/hiking routine, if you’re looking to extend your community of strong, supportive women, or if you’re just interested in connecting with potential post-pandemic travel buddies, be sure to check out the video below and connect with Carla on Facebook, Instagram, or the official WIM website.


Posted - 7/28/20 (Tue)


Bored With Working Out at Home? Let's Roam!

Bored With Working Out at Home? Let's Roam!

Bored With Working Out at Home? Let’s Roam!

How You Can Get Some Socially Distant Variety in Your Workouts

When it comes to establishing a new fitness habit, your success hinges on your ability to set a plan and stick to it. Building new healthy habits can be challenging, so I like to tell my clients to break their to-dos down into four steps:

  1. Establish where you are.

  2. Set some short-term and long-term goals.

  3. Plan for variety in your routines.

  4. Make it a habit.


Those last two steps are really crucial. Keeping up variety in your fitness routine is vital when you’re just getting started because variety is what keeps you engaged and interested long enough to turn your new routine into a habit.


So as you can imagine, 2020 hasn’t been the easiest year for building strong fitness habits.


While it’s totally possible to get a great workout without ever leaving your house, I won’t pretend that the pandemic hasn’t made incorporating variety a bit of a challenge for my family and my clients. 


We started with lots of strong ideas—Zoom fitness classes, backyard yoga, and Youtube workout routines, oh my! But if you, like me, are several months into being cautious about your activities, you’re probably getting a little burnt out on all of those things. And when we get burnt out, it becomes realllllyyyy tempting to just skip the MOVE piece of our Eat-Move-Recharge Triangle altogether.


So how can you add some variety to your workout without risking your health during the pandemic?


Recently, I’ve made it my mission to make working out a little more interesting. In my search for interesting-but-socially-distant movement options, I encountered a really fantastic company called Let’s Roam. My family participated in one of their challenges recently, and we had so much fun, I couldn’t help but pass this tip along to you!


What is Let’s Roam?


Let’s Roam is an experience-based organization that offers scavenger hunts in cities all over the world. With options geared towards families, couples, colleagues, friends, and even individuals, their adventures provide a fantastic opportunity to get your step-count up while learning fun facts about whatever city you’re in. 


The premise is pretty simple: You just select your city and choose the scavenger hunt that sounds most interesting to you. Each hunt option comes with a little bit of insight about what you can expect—what area of the city you’ll be exploring, about how far you can expect to walk, how long your adventure should take, and what kind of trivia/challenges you’ll face. 


You can buy tickets up to a year in advance and complete the challenges on your own schedule—no need for making a reservation, and no need to interact with groups of people!


My family did a scavenger hunt in Cambridge, MA, and we had a great time! We took our masks with us for times when we encountered other folks, enjoyed lots of time away from others, and I hit my 10,000 step goal in no time.


To find out whether Let’s Roam operates in your city or a city near you, you can check out their website here.


How Have You Been Moving Your Body?


I hope this little tip helps you incorporate some variety into your movement routines this week! In the spirit of promoting variety, I’d love to know: How are you staying active right now? Let me know in the comments!


To swap healthy living strategies, get support, and connect with other women who are prioritizing life-long health, hop over to my free Facebook group, Never Diet Again! This is a judgement-free zone for women just like you who are tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching their life go by. For women who are tired of feeling like their food is a full-time job, who want to get off the diet hamster wheel and enjoy their lives - and food - again. It’s not for women who want to be runway models, it’s for women who want to be role models. Come join us and say hi - I’d love to get to know you better and learn more about where you are in your healthy journey.


Posted - 7/21/20 (Tue)


Your True Colors: How to Find Your Best Colors With Shirley Zaccheo

Your True Colors: How to Find Your Best Colors With Shirley Zaccheo

Your True Colors: How to Find Your Best Colors With Shirley Zaccheo

And Why Knowing Your Most Complimentary Colors Can Be a Form of Self-Care

Think fast: Are you a summer, autumn, winter, or spring? I’m not asking you about your favorite season or even which season you feel like you vibe with. Rather, I’m talking about knowing your colors—that is, understanding what shades and tones are likely to look great on you based on the color of your skin, eyes, and hair. 

You may have encountered this idea before. The concept of identifying one’s best colors based on the palette associated with a certain season has been around for a long, long time. But how can you really know which colors are best for you? It’s hard to be subjective about our own appearances, right?

That’s where experts like Shirley Zaccheo come in. Shirly is an Image Consultant and owner of You & Improved. Through her work in color consulting, personal coaching, and more, Shirley helps women transform into the most confident, striking versions of ourselves.

So obviously, I was pretty excited for a chance to work with her and learn a few tricks of the trade. :)

But first: Why does finding our best colors even matter?

You might be thinking, “I’m a grown woman. I know what colors I like. Why does this matter?” If so, here’s the thing: Finding your best colors matters because we only ever get ONE first impression. 

Whether you’re talking about Zoom sales calls, job interviews, first dates, or pretty much any other social circumstance, showing up as your best self is half the battle. While I’m sure you’re totally awesome no matter what color you’re wearing, choosing a color that highlights your strongest assets and makes you feel great will give you that much more confidence. And we all know what a huge impact boosted confidence can have on every aspect of our lives!

Watch this video to learn how you can find your best colors.

My conversation with Shirley was jam-packed with great tips for finding our best colors, choosing styles that work for us, and looking and feeling like our best selves . . . So it only makes sense to give you a chance to hear her sage wisdom directly! Just hit play on the video below to learn more about identifying your most complimentary colors, and be sure to leave me a note in the comments if you have any questions!

Looking to connect with more amazing women like Shirley? You’re invited to join us in my free Facebook community, Never Diet Again—a group for women who want to make healthy changes not just for a moment, but for a lifetime. Hope to see you there!




Posted - 7/14/20 (Tue)


The Easiest Way to Stay Connected to the Wellness World

The Easiest Way to Stay Connected to the Wellness World

From time to time, I’m lucky enough to sit down for conversations with amazing women in the health and wellness sphere. While these chats are always a treat, I recently had an especially great time talking with About the Journey Founder Bonney Fiorito!

If you’ve never heard of About the Journey, they’re essentially your connection to the wellness world. Their website,, provides a Wellness Directory to help you find and connect with wellness professionals providing everyday services like:

  • Acupuncture

  • Coaching

  • Fitness Training

  • Massage

  • Nutrition

  • Reiki

  • Yoga

  • ….and many more!

They also provide an Experiences Directory that allows you to search for wellness classes, retreats, and workshops based on location, virtual vs. in-person, dates, and price. The experiences directory simplifies your search process and allows you to book your wellness experience at the same price you’d pay if you did all the booking work yourself—which is pretty amazing for those of us looking to save time wherever we can!

You already know I’m a huge fan of both wellness and having new, exciting experiences, so it’s probably no surprise to you whatsoever that I’m SUCH a fan of this site. 

I love the idea of having a one-stop shop for connecting with wellness providers. Even more than that though, About the Journey offers a lot of great ideas to help us all eat, move, and recharge in ways that work for us individually. They do a great job simplifying the process of finding, locating, and getting in touch with professionals who can help us live healthier lives. If you’ve been considering getting in touch with a wellness professional or attending a wellness event, I’d strongly recommend that you check them out!

For more information about the specific benefits of using About the Journey—or to learn more about Bonney Fiority—hit play on the video below. And as always, if you’re looking for more support in your healthy living journey, don’t forget to join me over in my free Facebook Community, Never Diet Again.

Posted - 7/07/20 (Tue)


How to Eat Healthy In Summer 2020 (And Actually Enjoy It)

How to Eat Healthy In Summer 2020 (And Actually Enjoy It)

One of my favorite things about summer is usually travel. My family often takes a vacation together, I do lots of interesting travel for work, and everywhere I go, I get to enjoy delicious, unique cuisine. 

This summer isn’t like most summers though. As we continue to traverse pandemic life, it’s pretty clear that most of us won’t be going anywhere over the next few months. This stillness begets boredom and (if we aren’t careful) boredom eating. Coupled with the fact that summer is full of traditional “splurge foods,” and we could be in for some nutrition trouble if we don’t play our cards right.

So how can you prioritize your nutrition and eat healthy this summer—and actually enjoy doing it??

As with most inconveniences in life, I think the secret to focusing on our nutrition this summer is going to be a combination of turning lemons into lemonade, getting creative, and establishing good habits. In this week’s blog, I’m offering you a little peek at what this looks like in my family right now—and hopefully these ideas inspire you to come up with a few fun ways to eat well this summer, too!


Traveling By Stomach

As I mentioned, I’m pretty bummed about the lack of travel plans in my summer calendar. But I realized early on during this pandemic—that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy the yummy, international faire I usually look forward to! My family has a lot of fun choosing dishes from around the world to prepare for dinner. We’ve recently done a good bit of Asian style cooking, featuring sesame oil instead of regular oil, and an array of uniquely Asian spices. From stir fry to steamed dumpling, we are definitely getting more creative in the kitchen.


Fire Up the Grill

If there’s one activity that defines summertime in the United States, it might just be the backyard barbecue. We always love grilling out, but this year, we’ve amp’d up our backyard oasis and it’s been a special treat. We get to break up the monotony of our routine, be outside for a while, and sometimes, we even end up playing backyard games as a family (which makes this a win in the eat, move, and recharge categories!).


Your Food Can Be Both Fun & Healthy

Reading about the activities above, you might be wondering how all that fits into my healthy eating plan. It would be easy to take something like an international food night or a barbecue night and turn it into a reason to go off plan.

This is where the “making it a habit” component comes in. As I’m preparing for these fun activities, I simply do so with my PFC Every 3 guidelines in mind. We still plan our meals around lean proteins, lots of veggies, and healthy fats—but the diversity in experiences, spices, side dishes, etc. helps keep the PFC Every 3 program from ever getting dull.

Even if we end up occasionally using a sauce that might be a little sweet or having some deliciously chewy bread on the side, I still consider this a net win. After all, prepping Asian food or grilling at home keeps us from, say, ordering Chinese takeout or hitting up a local rib joint—both of which would be far more liberal with the fat, sodium, and sugar than we are in our homemade recipes.


Quick Tips To Help You Lighten Up Your Meal & Stay On Plan

As you prepare for traveling by stomach, firing up the grill, or whatever other fun meal options you have in mind, here are a few simple swaps/alterations you can make to lighten up some of your favorite meals:

  1. Nix super-sweet sauces

I’m specifically thinking of barbecue sauce here, but this is really true of any sauce or marinade. Pay attention to your ingredients, and act accordingly. If you’re used to using a really sticky, sugary barbecue sauce, for example, consider swapping to a North Carolina barbecue style, which is more vinegar-based . . . or make your own reduced-sugar sauce!

  1. Everything in moderation.

Lots of summer foods revolve around fat and salt— I’m thinking of corn on the cob, coleslaw, macaroni salad, potato salad, and other traditional picnic-style food. In a lot of these cases, you don’t really need all the extra stuff to make your food delicious. Corn on the cob for example, doesn’t require a lot of butter and salt if you buy high quality corn and cook it fresh. Coleslaw that’s more focused on vinegar and spices rather than mayo can scratch a similar itch without loading your plate with fat. Potato and macaroni salads can be made with way less sugar and mayo than you were probably taught to use as a kid.
There are no hard and fast rules here, but be conscientious about what “extras” you might be adding to your food, and look for opportunities to eliminate them.

  1. Substitute Healthier Options for Traditional Favorites    

Sometimes, just subbing in a healthier option really is the best choice you can make. We end up doing this a lot for dessert: Instead of having a summer cobbler or cake, we feast on things like watermelon salads. If you need to sweeten something up a little bit, try using a drizzle of honey or agave instead of white sugar.
Apart from dessert, you could also try swapping out buns for spinach leaves, or stuffing your burgers with veggies (I’m a big fan of jalapenos and roasted peppers!).

What are some of your favorite summer foods? And what are some ideas you have around putting a fun, healthy spin on them this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


Need some additional accountability, fun food ideas, and virtual camaraderie this summer? Join my Facebook Community, Never Diet Again! It’s free, and it’s a great way to meet other women who are making a commitment to living healthier lives in this season and beyond.


Posted - 6/30/20 (Tue)