Memorial Day weekend means barbecue season has officially begun. While grilling is a healthier cooking option, many barbecues are often laden with high-fat foods that can make it hard to keep your health a priority. Hamburgers, french fries, potato chips, pasta salad, summer desserts, and countless other barbecue treats can be very tempting. You should be able to spend time with your family and friends without getting completely off track from your health goals. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy Memorial Day barbecues in a healthy way.
Memorial Day barbecues usually take place at a family or friend’s house. It’s always nice to bring something to show your appreciation to the hosts. I always recommend bringing a healthy dish so you are guaranteed to have at least one healthy option when at the barbecue. Some healthy dishes you could bring include a large vegetable crudité with fresh dip, assorted grilled vegetables, fruit salad, quinoa summer salad, or dark chocolate covered strawberries. Check out Pinterest for healthy and unique dish options.
You might find that a burger is one of the only options at your barbecue. Eating a lean burger is perfectly fine, but don’t sabotage this by piling your burger sky-high with fatty condiments and toppings. Skip the cheese, mayo, ketchup and coleslaws. Instead, add a bit of crunch with lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. Try mustard or even add some grilled vegetables to your burger for a flavor boost. If chicken breast or turkey burgers are available, choose those over the hot dogs and hamburgers.
Pies and cakes can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish. Choose fruit salad, or suggest grilling some stone fruits, such as peaches, plums or apricots. Even grilled pineapple is a great option. A few slices of grilled fruit, topped with some Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey is delicious and figure-friendly.
Slow It Down
This is something that I personally am constantly working on, but eating slowly and really enjoying each bite will help you be more mindful of what you are eating. Focus on your family and friends and embracing their company on this fun day. Slow down, engage in conversation, and appreciate the food that you’re giving your body.
Memorial Day barbecues are filled with fun activities that the whole family can participate in. Plus, the more you are distracted with activities, the less time you have to be bored and obsess about the food in front of you. It’s better to play volleyball or other games with your friends than to be sitting around the chip bowl all day. Suggest games to your family and friends to get them active as well.
General Party Tips
Don’t arrive starving; make sure that you have something to eat in the morning before you arrive so you aren’t ravenous. At the party, fill up with seltzer with lemon or lime instead of soda. If you’re drinking alcohol, choose a light beer or dilute your drink with seltzer. I like to carry a clutch or something in my hand to keep me busy and not constantly reaching for food. Try to make half of your plate vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter grains. Remember to relax and have fun! This is a great day to bond with friends and family and enjoy delicious food.
Stefani Pappas is the author of GamerFitnation’s Biweekly Column entitled, “Fast Track To Fit With Stef!” She is a college student majoring in Nutritional Sciences and hopes to become a Registered Dietitian. As a Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor, Stefani is dedicated to leading a healthy and active lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. Follow her on Twitter @stefhealthtips for more nutrition and fitness tips!
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