It’s BBQ’n season…tips on how to eat clean and stay on track!

I hear it from ALL my nutrition clients around this time every year… “but it’s summmmmer… all the BBQ’s… how am I going to stay on track?!

Yep, we all know when BBQ season rolls around it usually means greasy burgers or fatty hot-dogs, with carb-loaded buns, potato salad, creamy coleslaw, beers, sugar-laden barbeque sauce! … none of which help with weight loss goals or just the goal to eat clean!

Well, I’m here to tell you how you CAN eat clean & stay on track.. even during BBQ season, wether you are hosting your own BBQ or going to one!

Obviously, if you are the one hosting the BBQ… the options to keep it clean and healthy are endless!

If you are a guest at someone else’s BBQ and don’t have any control over what the food options will be, it’s a different story.. so what then?

1. Contribute Something Healthy. First things first! Typically when you are asked to come to a BBQ, you are also often asked to bring something. Well, here’s your chance to bring something healthy!Opt to bring a healthy bean dip with veggies, or a vinaigrette coleslaw, a tasty garden salad, or hummus and whole grain pita! If you bring something healthy, then you know there is going to be at least ONE healthy thing on the menu!

2. Be sure to Hydrate! Drink water before you go, while you are there, and after! Staying hydrated will prevent you from overeating, or drinking your calories! Water before a meal will keep you feeling more full, and you’ll be less likely to overfill your plate. Also, if you make it a rule to drink a glass of water between any alcoholic beverage you may have, you’ll drink less and save yourself empty calories there!

3. Take One Plate & Stick With It. When you get to a BBQ, there are usually paper plates or actual plates set out to fill up with! Take your plate and use it for everything, the appetizers, your meals, the dessert. By actually putting the food on your plate, you will be less likely to grab here and there and pop little bites of food into your mouth… which all add up. This is especially important with appetizers. Putting your allotted or portioned food on your plate allows you to keep track of what you are consuming!

4. Take Your Sweet Time! Eat slow, enjoy each bite, chew! The more time you take to eat, the more able your body will be to compute when you are full, and the more satisfied you will feel when you are finished your meal. This also won’t leave the opportunity for the host to ask to fill your plate again for you!

5. Pay Attention to Portions. Just because you are out at a friends or family members doesn’t mean your portion control should be thrown to the wind! Keep your portions under control like you would at home. A good tip for your portions is to stick with a meat portion similar to the size of your palm, or about 3-5 oz, a clenched fist size for your starch or carb (if you choose to have a bun with a burger, forgo another starchy side like potatoes or corn), and no more than a thumb tip (the size of your thumb past the knuckle) of sauce or dressing.

6. Make the Best Choices Possible. Go for the leaner meat option, i.e. chicken over beef, fill half your plate with salad or veggies, choose only half the bun if you are having burgers, pass on anything with a creamy sauce (potato salad or coleslaw), enjoy fruit for dessert, and just try to eat like you would any other day! Stay mindful!

7. Watch the Sauce! I don’t mean booze by this… but you should watch that sauce too! What I’m talking about here is sugar-laden BBQ sauce, creamy ranch dressing, butter, etc. Most of these sauces are sugar, fat, sodium, and empty calories! Stick with seasonings like spices, herbs, salt and pepperfor your flavorings, and stick with a vinegar based dressing on your salad!
If You Are…Hosting Your Own BBQ

1. Choose Healthy Grilling Foods. You can really grill A LOT.. grilling does not have to be limited to greasy burgers and fatty hot-dogs. Look outside the box and go with healthy options. For proteins choose lean meats like chicken breast, lean ground turkey burgers, fish, shish-kabobs with chicken, prawns, veggies, or go with a vegetarian option like portobello mushrooms, grilled tofu, or homemade black bean burgers! Grill up all different types of veggies… my favorites are zucchini, bell peppers, sliced tomatoes, asparagus, and bok choy! You can even grill your starches… try sweet potato on the grill, or baby potatoes in a grill basket with onions and garlic!

2. Offer Healthy Sides! Pass on the traditional potato or macaroni salad and go with a mixed greens garden salad, a vinaigrette coleslaw, or baked (or grilled) sweet potato fries!

3. Stick to the same Principles!Watch your portions, stick to one plate, hydrate, take your time, and watch the sauce! These same tips should apply at home too!

4. Grill a Healthy Dessert! Yes, you can do dessert on the grill too! Try grilled fruit kabobs, or grilled pineapple over frozen yogurt! Trust me… it’s delicious… see the recipe list for some more ideas!

Get Healthy BBQ Recipes

So there you have it!

Tips to keep it healthy as possible at BBQ’s this summer and how to host your OWN healthy BBQ!!

So, go on, start sending out the invites, and let’s bring on BBQ Season!


Nutritionist in the Kitchen

(Reposted from Nutritionist in the Kitchen )

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