With Memorial Day weekend having already kicked off for some and the 4th not too far around the corner, you might have some BBQ plans in your future. Here are my top four tips for enjoying the BBQ (or nearly any party) without letting it derail your health efforts:
- Prepare. If you’re not acquainted enough with your host to ask what he’s serving, bring something healthy of your own for as many courses as you’re comfortable with. I typically ask and then fill in the gaps if the offerings of a course are high in points values. As I’m going to a vegan friend’s this year, I’m pretty lucky. He always has a veggie tray, usually with great hummus, and dessert is typically sliced pineapple or dark chocolate with coconut flakes. The main course is frequently lentil burgers, which are so good. I have a recipe for those on my Pinterest page (nkrodney) if you want to whip up some of your own. If that sounds like too much work, you can always bring a veggie burger, or if you’re feeling the urge, low fat hotdogs. (I’m trying to steer away from those myself, based on an article I read on YouBeauty. That article is also on my Pinterest page.) A great BBQ dessert is obviously strawberry shortcake. I make Heart Smart Bisquick biscuits and bring fat free cool whip and sugar free strawberries (they have Splenda in them) from the frozen section. If you don’t like cool whip, low fat aerosol whipped cream isn’t bad in the points department either. If you’re feeling really ambitious, I take a traditional pasta salad and use a fiber-rich pasta like Ronzoni Smart Taste and a light Italian dressing like Ken’s or Newman’s. In the drink department, I bring soda water if my host doesn’t usually have it. It’s great with lemons, a little juice, or even wine! (Have to give a big thanks to my friend, Mags, for introducing me to this little trick—it’s so filling!)
- Focus on visiting, not eating. That’s right: step away from the chips and into the conversation.
- Get moving. If there’s any form of activity set up (bocce ball, etc.), join in! I always keep a soccer ball in my car too. If no activity’s going on, I find the friendliest kid and ask him to humor me with a game. One Easter I forgot the ball, so I just went for a walk along the private road. All the kids asked if they could tag along and we had a great time working up an appetite!
- Portion control. This might seem obvious, but take one serving of the items you choose to eat (not more than one plate per course of course) and resist the temptation to eat more until after dessert. By the time you’re through with dessert, you’ll most likely be full. If you’re not, see if there are fruits or vegetables left with which to fill in the gaps. Again, you can bring your own to hedge your bets. (Yes, I know how hard this one is!)
And finally, Happy Memorial Day!