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Bekki Jo Pritchard.

How to keep yourself in check during Spring Break and Derby season


By Bekki Jo Pritchard
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson


As the snow begins to melt, the sun begins to shine and the trees begin to bloom, spring is in the air. Springtime in Louisville, KY means Spring Break and Derby season. With all the fun that it brings – parties, food and alcoholic beverages – lost sleep and missed workouts can put a damper on your waistline. But it doesn’t have to!

Personally, I have never had an issue with overeating during holidays or parties or missing workouts around special events. I have always been regimented to plan my events around my workouts and eating healthy all the time. However, I realize this is not the case for most people. Up until a few years ago, I did not drink alcohol at all, however, now I tend to indulge a bit more around the holidays, spring outings and Derby parties. With that being said, I called on local registered dietitian and nutritionist Donna Giovenco, RDN, LD, ACSM-CPT to offer some healthy ideas to make Spring Break and Derby season fun and memorable while also keeping yourself in check. 

1. Eat breakfast every day. Eating breakfast jump-starts the metabolism and provides the energy the body needs to get through the day. Include whole grains and a protein source. For example, try 100{431c92db2ef93c421a350be785d244bd702e2c73a34f2b6f60cd8fd62b61507d} whole wheat toast with almond butter and an apple. Personal trainer and athlete at Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center, Jocelyn Duke, likes to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch allowing for a little “wiggle room” to enjoy a bit of party time indulging.

2. Do not skip meals or “save up” calories for a big meal later in the day. By eating a little something every 3-4 hours, it keeps your energy stable.

3. Never go to a party hungry. Our favorite place to hang out at a gathering is around the food, so if we go to a party hungry, we will be tempted to overindulge. Enjoy conversation first before digging into the food. Kenny Hodges, a Personal Trainer at Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center, suggests bringing your own snacks to the party and eating from a smaller plate to help with portion control.

4. Water, water, water! Staying hydrated will prevent that mid-day tiredness and reduce hunger and cravings. Proper hydration can prevent and alleviate headaches. Often, when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty or dehydrated. Drink water first and then determine whether you are hungry. Drinking an ample amount of water is the best fitness tip, especially during Spring Break and Derby parties and events.

5. Aim for five a day, as in five servings of fruits and vegetables combined every day. Choose fruit over dessert and add an extra serving of vegetables to your dinner plate.

6. Make time for exercise. Exercise improves your mood and increases your energy. Get in a 30-minute workout on the day(s) after you indulge in extra eating or drinking. If you can schedule 45-60 minutes before big events, that is even better. Jennifer Degralla, a Personal Trainer at Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center says that after we indulge in salty foods and alcohol, we may retain extra water,  so a quick burst of cardio like running, cycling, rowing or dancing, may make you feel better. If you can do longer workout sessions prior to an event, you can indulge a little more than normal without too many negative consequences.

Teresa McKenna, Café Director at Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center, is excellent at planning delicious, healthy menu options every day at the Café. She is especially skilled at creating healthy versions of traditional comfort foods that are full of flavor and provide just as much comfort. One of my favorites served at the Café is Low Fat Benedictine Dip, which tastes delicious on Teresa’s famous Turkey Benedictine Wraps. What’s even better is it is delicious with fresh-cut veggies! It is a light, fresh and healthy alternative for your Spring Break and Derby event parties. Just look at that delicious snack!

Low Fat Benedictine
1 large cucumber, seeds removed
¼ of a large red onion
1 ½ teaspoons salt
12 oz Neufchatel cheese

Cut cucumber and onion into large chunks. Pulse in a food processor until finely chopped. Place chopped vegetables in a mesh sieve or colander over a bowl. Sprinkle salt on top. Let drain for at least an hour and up to overnight. You can cover it with plastic wrap and put a weight on top (like a canned good) to help it drain. In a bowl, mix together softened Neufchatel cheese and drained cucumber and onion. I like to mix it with gloved hands to make sure it is thoroughly mixed but a spatula or spoon would also work. Serve as a dip on a veggie tray or as a spread on sandwiches with bacon or turkey.

As I said before, indulging in a few extra spirits around Spring Break and Derby time events has been my vice. Dietician Donna Giovenco says it’s not realistic to say “do not drink,” but be sure to stay hydrated and drink in moderation.

Have a glass of water or seltzer in between drinks. It’s springtime and it is going to get warmer and more humid. We lose a great deal of water anyway and alcohol only dehydrates us more. Begin to drink water before you feel thirsty. Once you are thirsty, you are already on your way to being dehydrated. Remember, the sweeter the drink the more calories. Try a Skinny Margarita!

Skinny Margarita
1 oz shot of 100{431c92db2ef93c421a350be785d244bd702e2c73a34f2b6f60cd8fd62b61507d} agave blanco tequila
1 oz of fresh lime juice
Shake and pour over ice
Add key lime pie flavored sparkling water
Add a lime wedge  

Drink in moderation, which is two drinks for men and one drink for women. One drink is considered: 12 oz of beer; 5 oz of wine or 1.5 oz of liquor.

Don’t drink and drive. Call a cab, rideshare or call a friend.

Remember, if you choose any of the above, water, water, water! You can still eat healthy, drink in moderation, exercise and still enjoy Spring Break, Derby and all of the festivities that come with it.  Please remember that you are a human being who has been through a great deal over the last year. Have a little grace for yourself and know that you are worth all the hard work and effort that you put into your health and well-being. Sometimes, it’s okay to eat a little more, drink a little more, laugh a little more, dance a little more and live a little more because you are awesome! Let’s get this spring thing started! 

Bekki Jo Pritchard, BA and MLS, Certified Pilates Instructor, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Barre Instructor RYT 200 Yoga Instructor, Adjunct Professor of Sociology, College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV and Adjunct Professor of Sociology, Craftonhills College, Yucaipa, CA.