It’s that time of the year when it seems like everyone is having a barbecue. Whether you’re hosting or attending a barbecue, it doesn’t have to be a diet nightmare. Here are strategies that can help you avoid the all-day grazing on fatty foods and calorie-laden cocktails.
Have a plan - Ask the host what will foods be served and what you can bring. This allows you to have a game plan as to what you will can expect to eat and plan for your indulgence. It also gives you the opportunity to bring something healthy. That means you can whip up something that you love and know that you’ll have at least one healthy, good -for-you food item. Chances are others at the barbecue are also concerned about eating healthy and will be thankful for your figure-friendly contribution.
Prioritize - Before loading up your plate, scan all the offerings, then pick just a few items that look too good to pass up. If you want to indulge in something less healthful, just take a coop or a small portion. Two bites won’t bust your diet, but overdoing it will. Don't waste calories on sweets or treats you can get any time of year.
Pick your protein wisely - Opt for lean proteins such as grilled chicken breast or shrimp or three-bean salad (which also has lots of fiber). Protein fills you up and keeps you satisfied. Skip the fatty proteins (sausages, brats, hot dogs, burgers). And if you really want a burger, think about wrapping it in lettuce and skipping the bun.
Pile on the produce - Seasonal fruits and vegetables are abundant and delicious. Focus on lite summer salads, grilled veggies, and fruit plates. Skip the salads that are dressed in heavy, calorie-laden mayo. Instead opt for those that use heart healthy oils like olive oil, and lemon and lots of fresh herbs and spices. Produce is low-calorie and packs with antioxidants. Fill up half your plate with produce and you’ll feel full and lite.
Limit alcohol - If you plan on imbibing, opt for alcohol mixed with tonic water or fruit infused water. By skipping cocktails made with soda or even sugary juices, you’ll lessen your calorie intake. Also alternate low-cal libations with water to pace yourself and cut down on empty calories.
Sit down - Rather than picking and grazing all day, head over to a picnic table or sit down in the grass when you eat. Practice mindful eating instead of munching while distracted. You’ll be much more satisfied and feel like you actually had a meal rather than continuous snacking.Cut yourself some slack - Trying to be totally healthy all the time can be a recipe for failure. Give yourself a little room to have a treat. Shoot for 90 percent healthy foods and 10 percent of your favorite foods to manage your weight.