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BBQ State of Mind

with Joni Gerken

Whether you’ve done a great job eating well this spring, or are looking to start now, you may be wondering how you can enjoy the summer barbecue season and still stay on track.

Here are some tips for enjoying a fun and delicious cookout with family or friends and enjoy yourself while still making healthy choices.

Plan Ahead -

Don’t skip meals before a barbecue out of concern that you are going to be overindulging later. If you roll up starving, you are instantly setting yourself up to make poor choices and overfill your plate. Eat a healthy and balanced meal earlier in the day so you can be clear headed about your choices when the barbecue menu presents itself.

Scope it out Before Filling Your Plate -

You can certainly try everything, but you don’t want your plate to be overflowing before you discover your favorite food. Also, focus on healthy portioning by keeping half your plate filled with fruits and vegetables.

Try to Pick the Better Option -

If given the opportunity to choose between a whole grain bun or a white bun, choose the whole grain bun. If a variety of protein options are offered choose the leaner option, such as a chicken breast over a hot dog.

Drink Smart -

This comes to both soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Staying hydrated in the hot summer is important, making water a great soft drink choice. Another good option is club soda, which you can flavor with a lemon wedge or splash of juice. If you choose to have a cocktail, be cautious of the mixers. Sweet summer cocktails can be loaded with hidden ingredients that lack nutrients and in turn cause inflammation (i.e. sugar, food colorings, artificial flavors, etc.). Choose wine or beer to avoid mixers or use a low sugar mixer such as club soda. Add more flavor with a splash of juice or get fancy with adding some freshly sliced or muddled fruit.

Offer to Bring Items -

If you don’t expect many fruits or vegetables to be served, offer to bring a fruit or vegetable salad for a side dish. If you think only sugary beverages will be served, bring some as a better option for everyone.

Move Around -

Organize a frisbee game or go for a walk with the group of people you are visiting with. This will not only aid in your digestion, but it will keep you away from the table, so you don’t keep nibbling mindlessly.

And voila, there you have a handful of ways you can enjoy those summer barbecues while balancing healthy choices and focusing on how you feel! No need to miss out. Enjoy!

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