Surviving a barbeque is almost impossible in the summer. But if you play you cards right, you’ll be able to stick to your diet AND have some fun! Choosing healthy foods, staying active, and indulging wisely are key to surviving a barbeque. Try these tips at your next barbeque for a day of fun without ruining your diet.
1. Bring a Healthy Dish
Bringing a healthy dish is a great way to surviving a barbeque. This way, you can control the calorie, fat, and sugar content of the dish. You’ll also know that this is something you can indulge in, as you made it yourself! Try bringing something substantial like a quinoa or rice pilaf. This whole grain and complex carbohydrate dish is full of fiber and nutrients, so you’ll be full and focused for the party.
2. Don’t Go Overboard with the Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are an easy way to break your caloric budget for the day. Some mixed drinks pack as much as 300 extra calories. Stick to a two drink max! And to be honest with you, do you really need the alcohol to have a good time? Personally, I prefer to go to hot barbeques alcohol-free. The hot weather and grilling can be very dehydrating, and alcohol will only make this situation worse. Stick to calorie-free beverages like water and seltzer if you can.
3. Do Something Active
Barbeques are often held at pools, beaches, or other outdoor spots where there’s something fun to do. Take advantage of a beautiful day by squeezing in a quick workout. Playing a game of catch or throwing around a Frisbee can not only burn a few calories, but can also keep you distracted from eating all that tempting BBQ food. Come prepared with an outdoor game or two and you’ll instantly be the life of the party.
4. Fill up on Fruits and Veggies First
When the food is served, make sure you fill up on fruits and veggies first. Dive in headfirst for that fruit salad or those roasted peppers and veggie kabobs. From there, add in some lean protein and some of the dish you hopefully brought. This is a no nonsense way to making a balanced meal that is loaded with nutrients and not a ton of calories.
5. Opt for Meats Sauce-Free
I know barbeques are often all about the sauce, but is there any way you could do without just this once? Barbeque sauce is often loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and other additives you don’t want in your body. If you must have some barbeque sauce, have a small portion of the side that you dip your meat into occasionally.
6. Avoid Fattening Sides
Barbeques are known for not just amazing cuts of meat, but also super decadent and yummy sides. From the macaroni salad to the potato salad to the baked beans and cornbread, everyone has their favorite food. As great as these dishes are, it’s best to avoid them or take very small portions. They’re often loaded with fat, artificial ingredients, refined oils, and a bunch of other ingredients you’re better off without.
7. Make the BBQ Your Cheat Meal
Some of you might work ‘cheat meals’ into your healthy eating plan, and that’s totally okay! Try to schedule cheat meals to be social events or special occasions like barbeques, so you can indulge but not feel completely guilty about what you ate.
Summer barbeques don’t need to be stressful if you’re trying to stay in shape and eat right. What are some of your tips for sticking to your diet even at summer social events like barbeques?