You are here
Home > Fattening Food > Healthy tips for navigating the backyard barbecue

Healthy tips for navigating the backyard barbecue


The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a cooler, wetter summer this year — a nice change from the unbearable heat we are used to.

Hopefully you will find yourself outside more often, grilling or smoking your way through the summertime. Barbecues and summer go hand-in-hand — especially during holidays like the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

While we celebrate with a day off from work, we certainly don’t have to take a day off from eating healthfully. Here are some tips to help you keep your backyard barbecues nutritious and delicious:

Plan ahead. Eat a healthy breakfast beforehand. Sometimes people won’t eat before going to a barbecue or a party, knowing they will be eating more than they typically would. However, if you have gone all day without eating, when you arrive at the party you are starving and everything looks delicious, smells amazing and, before you know it, you’ve got one of everything on your plate. Now, you’re definitely overeating, which will leave you overstuffed and uncomfortable. So, eat a healthy meal beforehand to keep you clear-headed and satisfied so you can make better food choices during the barbecue.

You can also plan out your plate. Scan the entire spread and pick only your favorites. There is no law that says you have to try one of everything. And while we are on the topic of plates, be sure half of your plate is filled with fruits and veggies. Keep one-fourth for a lean protein and then the last one-fourth for your carbohydrate source. For example, let’s say you have a burger. The bun counts as your carbohydrate, the patty as your protein, and then you can fill the rest of your plate up with grilled veggies and some fruit.

Bring a healthy dish. If you are going to a party and you know there will not be a single healthy option there, bring your own. The host will appreciated it, and you will know that there’s a guilt-free option for you to eat.

Cut the empty calories. Another way to keep it light, is to cut out the calories with no nutritional value, like soda. These carbonated beverages don’t contain any vitamins or minerals, no fiber, no feeling of satiety, and yet each can has about 150 calories. Empty calories don’t provide any benefits for the body, so they go straight to storage as fat. This also applies to alcohol. So, when it comes to your drink, choose a zero-calorie option like water, Diet Coke or Coke Zero. If you are drinking alcohol, keep it to a light beer or liquor mixed with a zero-calorie mixer like soda water. You can also cut out empty calories by choosing low-fat dressings and condiments. You can even substitute mayonnaise in potato salads with plain low-fat Greek yogurt.

Go lean on the meats. Trim off the fat and choose a 98-percent lean ground beef or even a turkey burger. Don’t forget about fish options either. Grilled salmon or shrimp are easy to prepare on the grill. If you are hosting, add an appetizing option for those who may not want meat.

Get rid of leftovers. Hosts who don’t want a bunch of tempting leftovers could hand out to-go plates and send guests home with food. Keep (or take) only the food you know you can eat in the next three or four days. Food safety experts say that grilled food is safe to keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Following these tips can help keep you on track while allowing you to enjoy all that is summertime. It’s about choosing a healthier lifestyle, not robbing yourself of the things that you love. So, fire up the grill, chow down on some yummy food and have some fun this summer.

Maddy Falivene, MS, RD, LD, is the Houston Chronicle’s dietitian and nutrition contributor.



Source link

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Top