There’s a lot that goes into sustained peak performance, and it’s important not to slip into bad behaviors when temptations present themselves. There are days when keeping up an optimal health regimen is more difficult than usual, especially on holidays centered around unhealthy food like Labor Day BBQs and picnics. While backyard parties are a lot of fun, they present a real challenge for healthy eaters — burgers as far as the eye can see!

This emphasis on greasy burgers and hotdogs isn’t doing your sustained peak performance any favors. You can try eating before the party, but the abundance of food might be too tempting to pass up. Don’t worry, though — we’ve got you! Here are some tips to help keep you on track.

 

WHAT YOU CAN EAT

Not all party food is created equal. Some is more healthy than others!

Guacamole and hummus are both TB12™-aligned, and often show up at parties. Try to go for these first. If you can, grab fresh carrots, broccoli, or other vegetables to dip rather than chips. That’d make a healthy and delicious appetizer. As far as dips go, these two are the best.

When it comes to dinner, your healthy options will likely be close to zero. A great way to circumvent this is to bring your own grill-ready food to the backyard bash. Great options include plant-based, all-natural veggie burgers or homemade carrot dogs! If there won’t be a grill, or if you’d like some more variety, bring a side dish to share. Try a healthy spinach dip or baked beans recipe — it’ll blend right in with the rest of the spread! You can make variations of classic dishes that swap out the bad stuff for healthy alternatives, and the other partygoers may not even notice how healthy it is! Check out our TB12 Performance Meals and the recipes in the TB12 Method mobile app. If you bring a TB12-aligned dish, you’re guaranteed to have something guilt-free to eat. It also adds to everyone else’s food options!

 

WHAT TO AVOID

Watch out for cheesy or creamy stuff and processed food. Potato salad and hot dogs may be tempting, but dairy and mass-produced meats have many drawbacks and few benefits. If you exercise restraint and pass on the junk food, you won’t feel sluggish the next day, and you’ll be less likely to crave it later.

Try to avoid processed food too. This includes lunch meat, hot dogs/sausages, most bottled condiments and dressings, packaged snacks like chips, and candy.

Check The TB12 Method book for a full list of TB12-aligned condiments »

Soda and alcohol are major party staples, but they’re also very dehydrating. Do your best to stick with water mixed with TB12 Electrolytes.

 

MODERATION IS KEY

Some acidifying food is healthy, as long as it’s part of a balanced diet and consumed in sensible amounts. Acidifying foods should only take up 20 percent of your diet, even if they are otherwise healthy. For example, salsa is widely regarded as a healthy dip, but many of its ingredients are nightshades, like tomatoes and peppers. Nightshades tend to be inflammatory and acidifying, so it’s best to limit your intake of salsa and other foods packed with nightshades (e.g., caprese salads, bruschetta, etc.).

Beef and pork are also acidifying, so try not to have a large amount at once. Those burgers might be tempting, but try to limit yourself to one if you can’t resist!

Moderation is especially important for food with acidifying properties, but it’s good guidance for all temptations at the party. If there aren’t any healthy alternatives, or you simply can’t resist the temptation, just remember the principle of moderation. Two bites of cheese won’t ruin your day, but 20 might! A teaspoon of ketchup or creamy dressing isn’t the end of the world, but don’t dump it all over your dish.

You can also make small tweaks to your plate to help you with moderation. For example, put some guacamole or horseradish sauce on your burger instead of cheese and ketchup. Use lettuce instead of a bun for your burger or chicken sandwich. Prioritize veggies over starches like potatoes. You can even wipe some of the sauce off your chicken wings. Every little bit counts!

 

BRING SNACKS

If you can’t bring a homemade option, pack some healthy snacks in your pocket or bag. TB12 Snacks are packed with superfoods and great for travel, since they come in small, resealable bags. Bringing a healthy snack to munch on will keep you from overeating the party food and help you stay on track.

Remember: everything in moderation. Don’t beat yourself up for indulging a little bit on a special occasion. Making smart choices and doing your best to limit unhealthy foods is an accomplishment in itself. Above all, don’t stop yourself from having fun!

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