When the warm weather kicks in, a lot of us head to the nearest patio to spend some time with friends and family. Part of the patio experience is to enjoy some cold drinks and maybe a burger or some salty snacks.

But what if you're trying to stick with healthier habits? The key is to be flexible and enjoy your favourite drinks and foods in moderation. Remember, eating or drinking outside your usual healthier routines for a short period of time will not make or break your fitness goals.  But it doesn't hurt to have a plan.

Try these tips on your next patio day, or even all summer long, to keep you on track while still enjoying summertime fun.  

Limit your alcohol consumption  

Patio beverages may include a few cocktails or IPAs, but that can come at a cost. Alcohol is filled with liquid calories and added sugars that can spike your blood sugar leading to cravings and dehydration.  

This is not to say that you need to cut out all alcohol, rather opt for something with less sugar like a vodka soda or add some soda to your wine, and be sure to rotate with water.  

Fill up on protein 

Summer is meant to be enjoyed with friends at barbeques and on patios. The best plan is to come prepared to enjoy your favourite things in moderation. If you know you're going to be tempted by chips, dips, ice cream and other snacks, have a protein shake or a protein-based snack beforehand. This will help keep your hunger at bay and make you less likely to overdo it with indulgences.

Stay active

Physical activity is a great way to stay on track with your fitness goals. Build in regular time for exercise and daily activities to get your heart-rate up and stay on track with your fitness goals.  

Drink plenty of water  

This will come as no surprise. Drinking 2-4 litres of water daily is important year-round, but is especially vital during patio season when you might be eating things you're not used to. The heat can also leave you dehydrated.  

Drinking water will help flush out excess sodium in your body from a salty meal. It will also work to combat water retention from the heat and any alcoholic beverages you may have enjoyed.

Plan ahead and stick to the fresh stuff

Most restaurants have their menu and nutritional info available online. Choose your order beforehand and see if there are any substitutions that could make it fit better into your healthy eating plan.

Sticking to the fresh stuff is a safe bet when it comes to restaurant food and can help you stay on track with your goals. Don’t be afraid to make modifications like asking for dressing on the side or substituting veggies for fries. You body will thank you.