Summer is a time for sun, heat, beaches, bathing suits and barbecue. Specifically, focus your attention on that last item. It’s only a matter of time before you are invited to a barbecue at your neighbour or friend’s house, and you WILL be faced with some dietary temptations that can spiral you out of control faster than King Kong falling off the World Trade Center.
Fear is an overrated emotion though. As long as you know some key tricks of the trade, you can ward off the dangers that await, and maintain the body you worked hard to achieve. At least, hopefully, you’ve been working on that summer body. It certainly does justice to a new bikini or pair of board shorts.
With that, here are five tips you can take into consideration the next time you roll into a summer party.
1. Ditch the buns.
This is a great way to save yourself a metric ton of empty calories. Bring a head of romaine lettuce with you to a barbecue and use the leaves to wrap up your burgers and dogs. Yes, hot dogs! Then add some other veggies and ketchup, and you’re off.
You can also use collard greens or swiss chard if romaine isn’t your jam. They all work great and are loaded with nutrients. Plus, if you are trying to watch your carbs, this is the way to go.
2. Seek out the veggie tray.
No picnic is complete without a veggie tray. If you are going to one that you are very sure won’t have a veggie tray, then bring your own and fill it up with the veggies in season. That can be your contribution.
Raw vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, carrots, celery and tomatoes are high in water content, vitamins, minerals and are very filling. Graze on these babies before the bigger stuff starts flopping on the grill and your appetite will go way down.
Feel free to dip them in hummus too for an extra splash of fiber and protein.
3. Drink water, not beer.
There’s a very good chance your barbecue will have a number of adult beverages on hand and icy cold. But don’t get sucked into this trap. Do you know how fast liquid calories add up? Laser-light fast! Plus, when they are in the form of alcohol, they are higher in calories than other liquid beverages.
Make sure to bring something more nutritious like kombucha, flavoured sparkling water or an all-natural soda alternative, which is easy to find these days.
If you do happen to drink, have a full glass of water for every beverage you consume. This will numb the effects a little bit and keep the damage to a minimum.
4. Nosh on fruit for dessert.
You would be hard pressed to attend a barbecue and not find either a fruit salad, sliced up melon, grapes, berries or a combination of all of the above. Get familiar with this area of the table and load up on these naturally sweet treats.
Not only are they great replacements for the brownies and chocolate peanut butter cream pie, but they are also loaded with fiber and antioxidants. So you are doing your body justice in more ways than one.
And don’t worry about the sugar content. If you consider the alternative, there is no comparison. You can have a gigantic bowl of fruit and it still would pale in comparison to a single brownie in nutrient content.
5. Be active.
Heck, it IS summertime. Take advantage of this at your next barbecue by partaking in some form of activity. You are sure to find a frisbee, slack line, horseshoe pit, badminton court or football laying around.
Find yourself a partner and go get some movement. Everything you do adds to your caloric expenditure. And this is even more important if you do happen to eat or drink something you shouldn’t have.
Summering it Up
You should never be afraid of attending an event because you’re scared that there might be something there you don’t want to eat or drink. If you do, you can end up being a recluse and have no friends. That’s no way to live.
Use the tips above and go to your events with confidence. You might even be able to pass this knowledge along to other people you know who are looking to maintain or lose weight. Then you’ll be the hero of the day.