Tonight (August 14, 2015) is the night of the last Summer Stroll of the year, from 6pm to 10pm. Like the one last Friday, tonight’s edition is from 69th Street to 80th Street.
As a Bay Ridge native, the Third Avenue Summer Stroll couldn’t come soon enough. I’ve looked forward to it each year since its commencement and, as I’m sure many a Brooklynite would agree, it’s always a highlight of the summer. For four magical nights, Third Avenue is transformed into a pedestrian plaza—showcasing the neighborhood’s local culture through exhibitions, performances, book signings and—my favorite—food. It’s easy to get distracted and consume your day’s worth of calories while strolling on a beautiful summer night in the Ridge, but hitting up the Summer Stroll doesn’t mean you have to ditch your weight management goals. Here are five tips to enjoy the Summer Stroll while keeping your calories in check.
1) Eat out like a pro.
Complement that delicious Pollo Alfredo at Vesuvio (7305 Third Avenue) with a side of vegetables. Or, choose your entrée ahead of time, so you won’t be tempted by the variety of delicious options. You’ll also have a better chance of keeping calories in check if you’re not starving going into the festival, so have a protein-rich snack before leaving the house like mixed nuts or banana with nut butter.
2) Master moderation.
You can still enjoy the foods you like and keep your calories under control by limiting the portion size. As soon as your entrée arrives, put half of it in a takeaway container, split it with a friend or order an appetizer for your main meal.
3) Keep cool.
Staying hydrated is especially important when it’s hot out. And, if you’re consuming alcoholic beverages, calories can add up fast. Alternate with beverages like water, or naturally flavored seltzer.
4) Practice mindful sampling.
You may think those little squares of cheese from ALC Italian Grocery (8616 Third Avenue) or baked goods from Brooklyn Market (8102 Third Avenue) won’t spoil your appetite, but little bites can quickly add up—an extra 500 calories a day equates to a pound of weight gain per week! Sample wisely and keep to single portions. Try prepacking portion-controlled foods and beverages before you stroll to help keep you satisfied. I love whole wheat crackers or frozen grapes. For beverages, I like to take along a variety of options including minicans of soda because they have the great flavor I’m looking for but only 90 calories.
5) Get Moving.
Balance out that ice cream from Anapoli (6920 Third Avenue) with a little extra walking. It’s called a “stroll” for a reason. Walk the length of the stroll and back and quicken the pace for a cardio-respiratory boost. Or, better yet, make a return visit to Bay Ridge and visit Owl’s Head Park. Whether you take a jog or bring your kids to the playground, this 24-acre park offers something for everyone.
You can still treat yourself to all your Summer Stroll favorites. Just remember, it’s all about balance!
Theresa Gentile, MS, RD, CDN is a Nutrition Support Dietitian at Maimonides Medical Center and provides nutrition counseling and consulting to individuals, families and business, including the Coca-Cola Company. Visit her website at www.TGNutrition.wix.com/TGNutrition.