5 Tricks to Enjoy a Summer BBQ (& Still Feel Good the Next Day)


I’m certainly not here to convince you that hotdogs and brownies are tickets to feeling fit, but still, I don’t know why barbeques rattle so many of my food-conscious clients. After all, there are far worse food scenarios than grilling. Just keep these 5 tricks in mind, and you can enjoy the event without feeling any diet remorse later.

1. Take a Plate
I know, I know, barbeques can go on forever. Perhaps early in the day you resist the chips, but they’re sitting there and eventually you cave. At any ongoing food situation—parties, BBQs, buffets, take a plate, and then no seconds. The one plate rule is huge—a little bit of this and a little bit of that has derailed many well-intentioned eaters. Fill half your plate with whatever vegetables are around (even if it’s the garnish), put protein (chicken, grass-fed burger, or fish) on one-quarter of the plate, and then fill the remaining corner with a grain, if you so choose.

2. Be Picky About Protein
We’re not vegans at Foodtrainers. We understand the allure of a juicy burger, but there is a hierarchy when it comes to hamburgers. Seeking out grass-fed ground beef not only helps you avoid the antibiotics and added hormones in conventional meat; the “grass-feeding” makes the meat healthy. Yep, I said healthy—not healthier. Grass-fed meat contains omega-3s, essential fatty acids also found in salmon, as well conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which some studies show boosts weight loss. If you don’t eat meat, seek out soy-free veggie burgers—I like the options from Hilary’s.

3. Control the Carbs & Condiments
I love grilled corn as much as anyone, but when it comes to carbs: pick your pleasure. Choose a bun OR corn OR (if you must) potato salad, but not “all of the above.” And if there are sneaky bad guys at a backyard soiree, they’re found in a bottle. Barbeque sauce and ketchup contain so much sugar, they’re pretty much desserts. Opt for mustard, pickles, or healthier condiment brands, such as Sir Kensington’s, instead. Need a mayonnaise fix? I’m loving avocado mayo from Primal Kitchen as an alternative.

4. Pre-Think Your Drinks
I cannot tell you how many people think the number of drinks they consume can be correlated to the number of hours they are at a gathering. This simply doesn’t work for a BBQ that may last five hours! Try to stick to two alcoholic drinks max, by having water in between. Always have 1:1, or one glass of H2O for every boozy beverage. Beware of punches and sangrias—they tend to be loaded with sugary fruit juice and just too easy to sip. Spritz (let’s be honest, dilute!) wine with club soda, or opt for hard cider or spirits on the rocks with lime instead.

5. Grab Fruit for Dessert
If I seem fairly generous recommending burgers, carbs, and cocktails, dessert is where the nice nutritionist exits the party. Skip the pie and the brownies! One of summer’s virtues is that watermelon, cherries, and other fruits are so, so good.


Do BBQs disrupt your diet diligence? What’s your summer splurge? Think any of these tips will help at your next event?

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