This summer, don’t let the BBQ become your diet downfall. Even the healthiest of eaters can be overwhelmed by the array of dips and fixings at a typical summer bash. Here are six simple ways to combat the BBQ bulge!
1. Skip the chips
Salty, crispy, grab-able snacks such as chips, pretzels and snack mixes are everywhere at summer social gatherings. To counter the temptations, fill up the buffet tables with healthier foods with a crunch like salty kale chips or strips of bell peppers to dip in spicy hummus, guacamole, or sour cream. Produce such as broccoli florets, carrots, jicama, cherry tomatoes and baby cucumbers also make great snacks.
2. H2O isn’t just for the pool
Juice, sodas and sweetened teas are often made with high-fructose corn syrup and may contain brominated vegetable oil, which can wreak havoc on our bodies. Instead, pack coolers with sparkling mineral water, unsweetened tea, or offer a water cooler filled with chilled cucumber – mint or berry/citrus-infused water.
3. Banish the bun
Despite the fact that bread products raise blood sugar as quickly and as much as eating two tablespoons of pure sugar, we still seem to fill these picnic staples with anything we can throw on the grill. Try going bun-less by eating with a fork and knife to slow down your eating. Use a lettuce-wrap approach to put some color into your meal or toss your grilled goods on top of a plate of hearty salad greens.
4. Eat your hot dog naked
Most condiments are packed with unsavory additives to enhance flavor, shelf life, texture, or appearance. Season with fresh or dried herbs and seasonings and try dry rubs for chicken and ribs, pack some fresh herbs and spices into your grass-fed burger patties, or marinate your poultry or seafood with olive oil, citrus, and herbs before searing them on the grill. Fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or hearty mustard are great toppings for your bun-less burger, chicken, or brats.
5. Make faux salads a faux pas
Potato salads, macaroni salad and pasta salad do not offer our bodies any true nourishment. Replacing these sides with some roasted vegetable salads or crisp, lightly-dressed coleslaw or use Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise or sour cream when making your own side dishes.
6. Don’t chase the ice cream man
Popular summer desserts such as gelatin and colorful ice pops include artificial coloring agents that could just as easily dye our hair, clothing, or crafts. Instead, choose to naturally sweeten up your party with fruit kabobs, frozen berries with heavy cream, or homemade real-fruit popsicles.
Special thanks to Life Time Fitness and registered dietician Laura Burbank for submitting these helpful tips.
Featured image courtesy of She Knows.