5 Ways to Eat Smart at BBQ Cookouts

5 Ways to Eat Smart at BBQ CookoutsBeat those BBQ blues and leave with a lighter step by following these 5 tips to sample suavely at your next summer cookout.

Anytime is a great time to BBQ, especially in summer while the kids are free from school and family and friends all try to beat the heat by soaking in the pool, or by skipping through sprinklers.  Backyard bashes are the perfect time to serve up goodies that can crash any diet, no matter how much willpower you have.

So the cookout invite came, and now you’re pondering how you can possibly bring your diet along with you–right into the backyard.  Make it easy on yourself, and follow these 5 tried-and-true tips to tackle even the toughest bbq challenge.

1.    Top off the tank before you go.  Even though your mother taught you otherwise, it’s a good idea to spoil your appetite before you leave for your next summer bash. If you show up half starved, you’ll have a lot less self-control. And try not to bank your calories and skip eating before arriving to the backyard, because the feeding frenzy will commence before you even realize what you’re choosing. And skipping meals always slows your metabolism—yes, always. That’s bad news bears for weight loss.

2.    Survey the landscape. Check your approach toward your situation. Take a moment and see what sort of thoughts are swimming around inside your mind. If you see a cheesy dip and assume there won’t be any healthy foods, you are more likely to dive in and pig out.  Make sure you look at all the table has to offer, and then go for the chicken breast, shrimp cocktail, fresh veggies and fresh fruit.  Scoping out the whole scene before filling your plate will take your far in creating a balanced meal.

3.    Be Beverage Wise.  Aim to skip the first beer or cocktail offered to you, and delay a bit before downing. If you go for the drink before you’ve greeted your guests, then it’s off to an indulgent start. It’s tough to count calories from alcohol, and we all know we are more likely to give in to our desires for calorie-laden foods and treats.

4.    Plate Once, not twice. If you tell yourself that you are not going back for round two, you are more likely to put the right things on your plate during the first go-round. Choose one serving of protein, not two—as bbq’s are typically meat-centered.  Chicken, turkey, and fish are usually the lowest-fat options. Pack the rest of your plate with grilled veggies, tomatoes, and salad.  After that first plate, focus on the folks around you, instead of the food.

5.    Host your own healthy cookout.  If it’s your turn to open up your home and yard, be bold and go for a healthy–and still delicious–bbq filled with yummy options for your guests. Instead of high-calorie bbq sauce, see what you can create with lemon or lime juice, a pinch of salt, and a dash of olive oil. Wrapping fish in tin foil allows all the moisture to stay in so you don’t have to add all that butter, and allows the thyme or dill you add to really sing.


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