5 Tips to Surviving that Summer BBQ

It’s that time of year – BBQ season.  Summer BBQs can be full of unhealthy choices for the average person.  A picnic table full of saucy salads (without actual lettuce), carb filled treats, and booze for days.  What could be a messy situation ready to derail your good health, doesn’t have to be with some good advice and good habits so read on.

1. Saving for later

Saving calories for later is a humdinger.  How many times have you skipped breakfast because you’re “saving calories” for the party?  The problem with that type of thinking is that you don’t get your metabolism revved up for the day so you’re burning calories in low gear and by the time you get to the party you are so hungry your plate is full and you’re double fisting beer.

The best solution to keep from hoarding calories and missing meals is to plan ahead.  Know what you’re going to eat throughout the day.  If you plan your meals you can stay fueled, balanced, and level-headed.

2. Bring the Yumminess

You’ll always know something tasty and HEALTHY will be on the table – you guessed it – if you bring it yourself.  We know hosting a party is tons of work so why not volunteer to bring a side dish.  Experiment with a fun new recipe or stick to the easy favorites such as raw vegetables and hummus or fresh fruit.

3. Eat Naked

Don’t be fooled by the tomato and cucumber salad that is masked as healthy and looks colorful and delicious.   Most ‘salads’ at BBQs such as potato salad, coleslaw, and pasta salads contain high amounts of fat.  Eating ‘naked’ means avoiding as many sauces as possible – that way you get to control how many calories you consume.  Look for the fresh fruit, salad (with lettuce) and grilled vegetables.

4. Booze

If you’re going to drink, limit your cocktails to one or two. Lite beer, wine or anything that’s clear like soda water are the best choices. The more frou-frou the drink, the more calories it contains (think 1 pina colada = 1000 calories).

5. Getting High on Sugar

We all know that sugar isn’t good for us. It contains no nutrients, no protein, no healthy fats, and no enzymes. Sugar provides empty, quickly digested calories that actually pull minerals out of your body during digestion. It stresses the liver, doesn’t fill you up, and causes an addictive response in the brain. Basically, there’s no good argument for eating it except that, “It tastes good.”

One trick for tackling this party monster is the Three Bites Law of Dessert: the first bite is the best, the last bite is the grand finale, and every bite in between is forgotten. By limiting your dessert consumption to three bites you get the full sensation without the caloric burden of downing a whole slice of cheesecake. And the best news is, enjoying treats in moderation will keep you from splurging and doing your body any real damage.

The Bottom Line

Life is meant to be enjoyed but you can minimize the damage by using the techniques mentioned.  Happy celebrating!

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