The sun is out, the weather is warm and the barbecue is fired up! A summer BBQ is one of life’s simple pleasures to enjoy with friends and family—but if you’re trying to eat healthy, a cookout can present some tough challenges. Fortunately, we have 5 helpful tips for smart eating at your next backyard barbecue.
Never Come Empty Handed to the Party!
Play it safe and plan on bringing something you know that is healthful. A few good options include a mixed green salad, vegetable kabobs or a fresh fruit tray. If you know the host will be grilling up some juicy burgers—bring whole wheat buns or lettuce to wrap the patty!
Another pro tip? Never come hungry. It might feel like a sin to eat a meal before attending a barbecue but showing up hungry could lead to overindulging on potato chips, dips, or sweets.
Move and Be Active
Ever notice how group conversation seems to congregate over the appetizer table? Save your friends and family from mindless snacking and move the conversation to the backyard. Get the blood pumping and start up a game of horseshoes, volleyball or take a dip in the swimming pool.
Be Mindful of Portions
A “handy” guide to portion control looks like this:
Protein like chicken, fish or beef, should be the size of your palm, not including your thumb or fingers. This portion should equal 3 ounces.
Carbs like rice or pasta should be the size of a cupped hand or ½ cup.
Fruits or vegetables should be the size of your fist or 1 cup.
Fats like mayo or salad dressing should be the size of your thumb, or 1 tablespoon.
Choose a Lean Protein
Skip the processed hot dogs and sausages that contain nitrates and added salt, unhealthy fats and calories. Opt for leaner proteins, like skinless chicken breast, fresh turkey burgers, fish or shrimp.
Prioritize Your Plate
If you’re yearning for a juicy cheeseburger, there’s no need to deprive yourself. Instead, choose to fill the rest of your plate with fresh veggies and hummus, and eat the burger open-faced without the bun. Or, if macaroni salad is your thing, bypass the brownie for dessert.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.