5 tips to make your next holiday BBQ healthy & delicious
A holiday weekend is just around the corner which means gatherings with family and friends. A holiday weekend usually entails a BBQ! Burgers, hot dogs, chips, soda, cupcakes…YUM!!! Unfortunately these foods are far from nutritious and, if you are being mindful about your caloric intake, a holiday weekend BBQ can really throw you off-track. BUT, with some smart planning a holiday BBQ can please any taste palate without tipping the calorie scale in the wrong direction. Follow my 5 Healthy BBQ tips and enjoy these delicious recipes that will surely impress your guests.
TIP #1: Start your day right
Be physically active first thing in the morning. Start with a glass of water, grab a banana, and a tablespoon of almond butter before hitting the gym. Hate the gym? Me too! Not a problem. Instead, go for a run, grab your yoga mat for a good vinyasa flow, or go outside to play with the kiddos. Whatever you do get your heart pumping and break a sweat.
Do this first thing in the morning. Don’t check your e-mail or peruse through your favorite social media site; it will be there waiting for your when you return. Before you realize it too much time has past and you may not have time to exercise. Don’t fall victim to the social media trap! Get up, exercise, and drink plenty of water. I promise…you won’t regret it!
I am so bummed that I already worked out…said no one ever!
STEP #2: Have a Healthy Breakfast
After your sweat make yourself a healthy breakfast, preferably one with fiber-rich foods. Fiber expands allowing you to feel full and satisfied so you don’t show up to your BBQ hungry, or even worse…hangry.
An example of a good breakfast is one serving of sprouted whole grains, such as 1/2 of an Ezekiel English Muffin with one poached egg (or an egg cooked to your liking) and 1/8- 1/4 of an avocado. Another option would be 1/2 cup of steel cut oatmeal, about 5-10 chopped walnuts, and 1/4 cup blueberries.
Never arrive to a BBQ on an empty stomach. If you are attending a dinner BBQ make sure your lunch is equally as nutritious as breakfast. Eating an apple right before you arrive is a sure way to feel full so you don’t dive right into the chip bowl.
TIP #3: Drink plenty of water
Summer BBQ’s are hot! Stay hydrated by consuming plenty of water throughout the day. Enjoy sparking flavored water or bring some fruit infused water to the BBQ.
This is especially important if you plan to enjoy adult beverages. A good rule of thumb is to have 8-12 ounces of water in between beverages. You won’t consume as many alcoholic beverages which means less calories. Keep in mind a serving of alcohol provides approximately 150-200 calories; add juice or soda and now you have a 400 calorie cocktail. Opt for sparking flavored water and a squeeze of lime instead.
TIP #4: Make Healthy Choices
Once at the BBQ, check out your options and choose your foods wisely. Lean cuts of meat, such as chicken and fish are healthier options than a burger or hot dog. Look for veggies and steer clear of the fat infused potato salad and whatever cheesy dish that is calling your name.
To ensure healthy options offer to bring a dish or two. Chicken and shrimp skewers are always a hit and check out this healthy potato salad recipe for a low calorie alternative.
Once you have chosen your foods step away from the table. Don’t graze around the food as this will no doubt lead to mindless snacking. Eat and go mingle with the guests.
TIP #5: Have Fun
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself! You are with family and friends so have a good time! Eating healthy does not have to be a chore unless you make it so. Don’t over think this!
If there are no healthy options then monitor your portions. Allow yourself a cheat meal, just don’t make it a cheat day. Remember, planning ahead is key. Exercising first thing in the morning and eating a healthy meal prior to your event will ensure a little wiggle room to enjoy the occasional splurge.
Here are some delicious and nutritious recipes to make for your next BBQ.
Notice there are no processed foods in the list of recipes I provided. Avoid processed white bread, foods with added sugar, potato chips, and cheesy dishes; these are loaded with empty calories. Make a burger bun-less by wrapping it in leafy greens. It’s good! I wouldn’t lie to you! Heck, stash a few pieces of bibb lettuce in your purse or cooler and go-to-town on that burger! The others will be jealous and asking “where did you get the lettuce?”
The key to eating healthy is to be realistic. Plan ahead, make healthy choices, and have a good time. After all, celebrating with family and friends is what its all about.