Eating well is much easier during the week than on weekends. During the week, there is some structure to our days; breakfast, lunch and dinner are served around the same time; and most of us have regular weekday obligations. A lot of my clients eat really well during the week and then have “cheat days” on weekends. (Discover the Unhealthiest “Healthy” Foods.) Weekends are full of social events; you may sleep in later or change your exercise routine; and it’s tempting to eat chips or buttery popcorn while you watch TV.
Here are some of the most common mistakes in weekend eating:
Skipping a Meal
Sleeping in a little on the weekend is highly recommended, but don’t skip breakfast. Try to eat within an hour of waking up and every three to four hours thereafter, as you normally would during the week. Skipping breakfast can slow down your metabolism and cause you to overeat later in the day. (Learn 5 ways to kick-start your metabolism.) If you have a big lunch or dinner planned, don’t save up for it by not eating. It’s important to fuel throughout the day.
Having a Cheat Day
Make sure you are not “dieting” or restricting your intake during the week and then overdoing it on weekends. One bad cheat day can completely cancel the benefits of the diet you follow during the week. Instead, balance your meals on all seven days, while occasionally indulging in a fun and delicious treat.
Forgetting to Plan
Your days may be more open-ended on weekends, but you should still have a tentative meal plan. If you are going out for the day, take a snack or pack a sandwich for lunch. You can also leave a packed lunch in the fridge, as you would for work or school, so you won’t be tempted to make unhealthy choices.
Eating Late at Night
Beware of snacking late at night. You do not need a lot of fuel before going to bed. If you want a snack, portion out a small plate and eat it in the kitchen.
Overeating in Restaurants
It’s fairly common to eat out on the weekend. This is perfectly fine. Just treat it like any other meal. But be careful of drinking your calories (alcohol or soda), eating too much bread, having both an appetizer and dessert, or eating a mega-entrée. Here’s a tip: peruse the menu quickly and be the first to order; you are less likely to be influenced by other people’s choices. (Check out how to eat at a restaurant.)