Holy Moly!! It is already July! I cannot wrap my head around how fast time passes. When you are young, it seems like time stands still but as we age and life gets busy, time just flies by in the blink of an eye! Hope y’all have fun plans for the 4th and have a chance to spend much needed time with family and friends. Many of you may be hosting a BBQ or heading to a cookout. I wanted to share a few tips to help you stay on track while still enjoying the foods you love!
Most BBQs consist of mayo-ladden potato salads, coleslaws, ribs and hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and dips and tons of sweet treats. They are quite delicious looking but may not be figure friendly. The average potato salad has 20 g of fat and 357 calories per cup. The average medium sized BBQ rib has 11.5 g fat and 124 calories.
1. Head to the party with a full tummy- If you head to a BBQ with an empty stomach, EVERYTHING is going to look ah-mazing and you are more apt to indulge, even if you do not really like something. It’s like grocery shopping on an empty stomach! Suddenly everything looks good even the bag of Doritos that I don’t even like. Plan to eat a balanced breakfast as well as another meal or two, especially if the BBQ is not until the afternoon.
2. Pack a snack! Plan to pack your favorite healthy snack to ensure there is something you will like to munch on. Maybe it is a delicious veggie tray with low-fat Greek yogurt dip or a fruit platter. Pack your other meals along with you if you are worried that you will not find something that works for you.
3. Load your burgers with flavor- Instead of adding cheese, ketchup, mayo, and bacon to your burger, add flavor with fresh garlic, herbs, and jalapenos or grilled onions. Stick with mustard as a condiment or choose a lower fat option for mayo. Better yet, use a couple slices of avocado as your topping.
4. Prepare to be side savy- Now is the best time to take advantage of the beautiful produce available! Trade in the potato salad for a sliced cucumber, tomato, onion salad tossed in fat-free Italian dressing. Have the grill master grill up some fresh zucchini, asparagus, eggplant, tomatoes and onions.
5. Choose leaner meats. Instead of noshing on a pork sausage, choose a chicken or turkey variety. If you can convince the head BBQ man to grill up a piece of fish, choose to use herbs and citrus to add flavor. If sticking with chicken, try to choose skinless breasts instead of thighs, legs and wings.
6. Skip the bun hun. If it appeals to you, try wrapping your chicken or burger in butter lettuce to create a bun-less burger that saves on calories and gets in an extra serving of greens! Try layering it with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, wrap it up and enjoy.
7. Sip wisely- Deciding on which alcoholic beverage to enjoy can be tough especially if you love to drink beer with the best of them. Most stout beers typically have 2-3x as many calories as “light” beers (200+ calories versus 60). If you enjoy liquor, opt for blueberry vodka mixed with club soda and add a couple blueberries for sweetness.
8. Grill your dessert- Instead of choosing the apple pie with vanilla icecream, have the pit master bbq up a fresh peach and top it with fat-free cool whip or enjoy fresh berries sprinkled with cinnamon and stevia. If you want chocolate, take some berries and drizzle it with a melted dark chocolate square.
9. Moderation is key- If there are some foods that you just have to have, that’s great, go for it! But try to stick to controlled portion sizes or split it with a family member. My sister and I always do this at events. We both love us some sweets, so instead of each getting a piece of cake, we split it. Typically just a bite of something will satisfy your palate.