Healthy Summer Eating Tips – BBQs, Picnics And Parties
When the weather is fabulous and the days are long, there’s nothing better than spending time with your friends and family, firing up the grill and feasting on some amazing food! If you’re trying to watch your weight, all these seasonal spreads can let your grazing get out of hand. Follow these simple tips for summer eating and you’ll be able to enjoy any picnic, BBQ or party without stressing about staying slim.
How to prepare in advance
- Before you even head to the party, make your other two meals for the day light and healthy. It’s all about balance. Grab a smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch, knowing you’ll be heading to the BBQ for dinner.
- Bring something that’s healthy. If all else fails, you know you’ll have at least one healthy option to eat.
- An Idea: Add more veggies and whip up mayo-less recipes. Use Greek yogurt in place of mayo 1:1 when making Potato Salad, Broccoli Salad, pasta salad or Cole Slaw. If you absolutely do not want to substitute 1:1, use ½ mayo and ½ yogurt. No one will even know!
Once you get to the BBQ
- Drink a HUGE glass of water before you pick up a plate. This helps you feel full, curbs hunger and combats overeating. Plus, water does all kinds of great things for your body. The more the better.
- Take inventory, prioritize your favorite foods and pay attention to your portions. It’s easy to get out of control when you have a mouth-watering spread of food in front of you. Before you start piling food onto your plate, take inventory of everything there is to choose from. When you grab a plate, choose ONE or TWO of your favorite cheat foods and DON’T pile them sky high!
- There’s nothing wrong with a little balance, that’s why we promote the 80/20 Approach. Just keep the cheat food to the 20%, not the 80! For a SUPER simple way to identify serving sizes, check out our portion guide in our Well-Balanced Meals Made Easy Toolkit.
- Don’t go crazy with starchy carbs. Keep it to no more than ½ cup, which is about the size of a tennis ball. If you want a big, juicy burger, eat it open-faced (half a roll) or ditch the bun entirely and eat it wrapped in lettuce. That way you can enjoy some pasta or potato salad guilt-free.
- Contain yourself when it comes to condiments. Mayo, cheese, creamy dips and other toppings REALLY add up! Top your burger or dog with veggies and a slice of avocado instead of cheese, and use mustard rather than mayo.
- Avoid processed snack foods such as chips and pretzels. This is a BIG ONE! There’s no nutritional value to these processed playboys and, to be honest, there are so many other delicious foods to fill up on at a BBQ.
- Watch your liquid calories! Alcoholic or not, we all love a cold, refreshing drink while out in the summer sun. No problem! Stay away from soda (yes, even diet soda), juices from concentrate and other sugary drinks. Instead, make a drink that you can sip on without all the sugar. Bring club soda or seltzer water and squeeze fresh fruit (oranges are our personal fave) in your drink! For an alcoholic drink, vodka goes great with this. If you’re in charge of drinks, take a look at our Drinks and Cocktail recipes.
- Lastly, mingle and have fun somewhere away from the food. Having the spread within sight (and smell!) leads to temptation. Once you’ve eaten, move somewhere that’s away from easy reach of the food.