Who doesn’t love a good summer BBQ? Surrounding yourself with friends and family, firing up the grill or smoker, you have yourself the makings of a good time. Cross your fingers for some good weather that cooperates, and you’re set. The downside is, for many, a summer BBQ leads to the scale creeping up unexpectedly the following day because you didn’t eat healthy at the party and the fun you had quickly transitions into regret. Well, not this time!
In this article, you’re going to find four useful strategies that you can implement to help you eat healthy and stay on track so you can stay lean, look great, and let the good times roll this summer.
1. Always Have a Healthy Dish at Your Summer BBQ
One key to eat healthy at your summer BBQ, whether you are the host or a guest, is to take a healthy recipe that you know is something you’ll be able to eat without regret. Also, you need to keep in mind that it should be a food or dish that others would enjoy as well. So, that tilapia and asparagus you’ve been eating during your diet to get ready for summer fun, cross that off of your list.
That said, a meat and cheese platter, a fruit salad, a healthy hummus dip, a salad mix with various toppings, a vegetable tray, or something similar would be your best option. By having something there you know you’ll be able to eat that isn’t super high in calories, carbohydrates, fat, or sugar should help you get through the summer BBQ without regret.
2. Find the Protein
Another strategy you can use the eat healthy while enjoying a summer BBQ is to scope out the food table and find all of the protein sources you can choose from. Protein at a summer BBQ will be your friend (for the most part).
For starters, you should always be looking for protein sources as it will not only help keep you full and satiated longer throughout the party, but it can also help your muscles recover and grow from your workouts.
Clearly, the party you're attending (or hosting) will include BBQ of some sort if it's a summer BBQ, but as you know, the majority of BBQ sauces out there are incredibly high in sugar. You're going to want to avoid piling these items on your plate or even adding more sauce to the dish. Consuming a serving of a delicious BBQ platter isn’t going to kill you or have you regretting your decision later but be mindful of your portion sizes.
If possible, try to scrape off the excess BBQ sauce from your protein sources. If you’re eating baby back ribs with sauce, grilled BBQ chicken, or something similar, this is normally possible as it has some excess lingering on top. However, if one of your choices is a pork BBQ where the pork is shredded to put on a sandwich or eat plain, you’re really not going to be able to much with that example.
If you’re looking for snacks to pick at as an appetizer, look for things like a healthy hummus or some nuts. Nuts contain healthy fats and fiber and are a great satiating food as well which can help prevent you from overeating at your summer BBQ.
3. Watch Your Food Intake and Walk Away from the Food Table
This is an area where many people fail and fail miserably. And let’s face it, at parties such as a summer BBQ, one of the main attractions is the delicious food. However, as you know, groups congregate around the food table to socialize. Everyone stands around and picks at food all party long and if you are trying to eat healthy, you’re going to want to try and migrate people away from the table or be incredibly mindful of what and how much you are eating.
One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone has the same mindset or goals as you. They’re not going to make an effort to eat healthy at the summer BBQ and many use it as an excuse to pig out. Don’t fall into that trap. You didn’t work hard to achieve the physique you have just to have it unravel by making poor food choices.
Rather than standing around the food table and constantly picking at things without realizing exactly how much you’ve consumed, grab yourself a plate to give yourself a better visual of what you’re planning on eating. You should also understand that just because you have a plate, it doesn’t mean you need to fill the whole thing or continuously keep adding to your plate.
4. Use Water to Your Advantage
Water can be a savior at a summer BBQ. Not only will it help you stay hydrated in the summer heat, but it can also help you stay full and less likely to find yourself sneaking over to the food table and picking at foods because you’re hungry.
Something else to consider is what you’re drinking at a summer BBQ. If you’re surrounded by people of age, you know it’s almost a prerequisite to have ice cold beer available. Some may even be mixing drinks or drinking them neat or on the rocks. That said, this article isn’t meant to be the fun police and tell you to skip the adult beverages.
That said, you’re more than aware that adult beverages are full of empty calories and those calories coming from beverages can add up quickly. Therefore, you need to keep your beverages in check and be mindful of how many you’ve consumed. Again, put your focus into drinking water.
Enjoy yourself but if you want to make sure you eat healthy, make water your beverage of choice at a summer BBQ. A nice cold glass of water is incredibly refreshing and best of all, it’s zero calories which can allow you to dive into more of those amazing dishes (without going overboard).