Burgers, potato salad, desserts and sprinklers. For many Americans, Memorial Day is the beginning of warm and sunny times ahead. Memorial Day kicks off the summer which is prime time for social events and backyard bashes — complete with plenty to eat. For many of us, summer seems to be the most challenging time to “go light” with food and maintain weight (let alone lose it, if that’s your goal) because we’re more likely to socialize, eat and drink. We all love summer parties, but they don’t have to wreak havoc on your diet. Here are a few tips to tackle a barbecue the right way:
Eat Before You Go: Go ahead, ruin your appetite before heading to the barbecue bash. You need a snack that provides satiety so you don’t show up half starved. And certainly don’t “hold out” on eating beforehand. Fasting all day in prep of a big barbecue is the worst thing you can do. You’ll slow down your metabolism and wind up overeating – a double whammy!
Assess The Situation When You Arrive: Sometimes, your attitude going into the meal can make or break your barbecue experience. Be patient, scope out the scene and then use what is available to create a healthy proportioned meal. Try to fill your plate with chicken skewers, shrimp cocktail, crudité, garden salad, fruit salad, etc.
Try To Skip That First Drink: When you have your first drink before you even say hello to the guests, you’re probably off to an overindulgent night. You’ll end up consuming too many calories from alcohol, and then the effects of the alcohol may inhibit your willpower and make you consume too many calories from food, too. Try eating first and then maybe follow that with your first drink. It is also a good idea to alternate an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water.
Fill Your Plate Once: Take one serving of lean protein – just one! Go for barbecue chicken, shrimp or fish, which are usually the leanest options. Fill the rest of your plate with other healthy foods, such as grilled vegetables, roasted corn, tomato slices and salad. Enjoy that first plate, but then stop eating and enjoy the people around you and just socialize.
Host A Healthy Barbecue: If it’s your turn to do the hosting, serve delicious and healthy options for your guests. Instead of those heavy, saucy chicken wings and sugar loaded desserts, try chicken skewers, grilled vegetables and fresh fruits. And unlike some traditional barbecue fare, these refreshing dishes won’t leave you feeling overstuffed for the rest of the party.