Summer is finally here which means plenty of family picnics, barbecues, and other social gatherings. The wide array of chips, dips, grilled meats, homemade side dishes, and tasty desserts often poses a problem for those trying to watch their weight and stick to a healthy diet. Losing weight shouldn’t mean you have to hibernate all summer and avoid socializing with friends and family, as long as the proper strategy is used.
Here are some tips to enjoy the summer and all that barbecue season has to offer without packing on the pounds:
1. Bring a healthy dish: If you are not sure if their will be any healthy options offered at the barbecue, bring a healthy dish as your contribution. This way you can be sure their will be at least one thing you can eat and enjoy without the guilt of extra calories that usually come along with eating the standard barbecue foods.
2. Eat before you leave: Have a small snack about an hour before you leave such as a piece of fruit and low fat cheese or half a sandwich so you are not starving when you arrive.
3. Fill up on salads and vegetables: Fill the majority of your plate with veggies and salads first before heading for the grilled meats and side dishes. Choose light or low-fat dressings and watch out for creamy dressings that can pack approximately 100 calories per tablespoon, which is approximately the size of your thumb.
4. Watch portion sizes: When choosing a meat, remember 1 portion is approximately the size of a deck of cards and an appropriate portion of side dishes (potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad) is the size of a tennis ball. You don’t need to deprive yourself of a tasty dessert, but choose only 1 or 2 you want to try and eat a small portion of each.
5. Don’t socialize near the food: Position yourself away from the food table so you don’t find yourself mindlessly snacking as you socialize. Also, keep a glass of water or sparkling water in your hand as you socialize because it gives you the feeling of being full. Water is the best option because it has no calories and if you prefer alcoholic beverages avoid drinking your calories with sugary mixed drinks.
6. Get active and play: This doesn’t mean you have to drop and do push ups or break a sweat in the middle of the barbecue, simply get up and play a popular outdoor activity like lawn bowling, volleyball, or croquet. This keeps you away from the food table and can be a lot of fun!!
Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com for more information on how to prevent packing on the pounds this summer, but still have fun!
Michelle Roots BA Kin, CSCS, PES