Oh summer, everyone’s favorite season for cookouts. Unfortunately, this is also a common time for people to blow their diets and lead to not-so-fun health consequences. The below tips will help you stay on track and better navigate the summer grilling:
1. Bring a healthy dish to share. If you’re hosting, not a big deal. But, if you’ve got food sensitivities and intolerances to navigate, eating at someone else’s house can be a nightmare. So grab your favorite grass-fed beef, or make a salad to bring, and share with everyone else. Instead of feeling isolated, you’ll know that you can at least eat something there.
2. Go light on (or skip) the processed carbs. Hamburger buns, chips, cookies…oh yeah, they’re all there and they look delicious. But, most cookouts are lacking vegetables, so if anything, opt for a lettuce wrap or double up on salad or raw veggies.
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3. Be cautious of the condiments. Ketchup and mustard, fine. But when the host puts out an array of sauces, slathers the fruit salad in a creamy sauce, or marinates the chicken in something, be wary. Most of those are filled with sugar and unnecessary ingredients.
4. Opt for fruit as dessert. We often forget just how sweet fruit is, but it truly is nature’s dessert.
5. Go for the low-glycemic alcohol. Summer often leads to sugary, sweet drinks. The problem with these (besides the fact that all alcohol is devoid of nutrients), is that they are high glycemic and can spike your blood sugar levels. If you must have a drink, head for the hard liquor like tequila or gin, and throw in a splash of sparkling water or tonic with fruit.
6. Skip the seconds. Eat like you would for any other meal- some protein, lots of veggies, perhaps a grain, and that’s it. Once your plate is full, don’t go back up to the table (even if someone brings a new dish!).
7. Drink plenty of water! First, staying hydrated will prevent you from overeating, but summer is also a prime time for dehydration to occur. Make sure you’re drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water, and even more if it’s humid or you’ve had a glass of alcohol.
8. Don’t stand near the food table. Most cookouts are a way to socialize and play games. Enjoy that! Instead of hanging out near the food where you’ll be more inclined to graze, grab a plate and leave that area.
9. Pick your vice. Don’t want to give up the slice of pie? Fine, then opt for water to drink and skip the bun. Determined to enjoy a fruity beverage? Totally fine, then avoid the dessert table. The point is, allow yourself to enjoy the cookout, but don’t overindulge.
10. Don’t go with a completely empty stomach. Did you skip breakfast and lunch just to leave way for dinner at the Johnson’s house? Bad idea. That will likely lead to making some not-so-great choices. Make sure that you’ve eaten meals when you normally would, and don’t show up starving. This will prevent you from making unhealthy choices.
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