Celebrate Labor Day and Stick to Your Weight-Loss Goals With These Barbecue Tips
With barbecue season still in full swing, you can celebrate with family, friends, and food, and still stay on your healthy path. Just head to your next barbecue with these tips and tricks to prevent overeating that can lead to bloating and weight gain.
Eat Before You Go
This may seem odd because eating is probably the main reason you're going to the BBQ, but if you show up hungry, you're more likely to overeat and indulge in foods you normally wouldn't. Have a quick bite of something that offers protein, fiber, and healthy fats, just to take that hunger edge off.
Use Your Calories For Food
Maybe you usually only have one beer or glass of wine at home, but you're at a party, so why not go for two or three?! Go ahead and enjoy one drink, but to prevent drinking hundreds of extra calories, stick to water after that (jazzed up with a slice of grapefruit).
Just Say No to Buns
Sorry, carb-heavy buns, but at least one of you has to go! Or you could go for a bun made from veggies like swiss chard, sweet potatoes, tomato, or grilled portabello mushrooms.
Choose a Mixed Drink Over Beer
A cold beer goes great with a barbecue, but a bottle has tons of calories and carbs. Go for a mixed drink like vodka soda with a twist of lime, or these other low-cal cocktails.
Be a Social Butterfly
Don't just plop yourself in a chair next to the chips and dip for five hours! Get up and keep busy with friendly conversation and maybe a light game of bocce — it's much tougher to stuff your face when you're hanging out with friends and family.
Stick to 1 Plate
Just like you would any other meal at home, prepare your plate and that's it. Going into it knowing that you're only going to have one plate of food will keep you from overeating. Better yet, go for a smaller plate to keep portions in check.
Load Up Half of Your Plate With Veggies
According to certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition, eating tons of veggies is one of the best ways to lose weight. Since many BBQ staples come with a less-than-ideal nutrition label (hello, macaroni salad!), this is a time you definitely want to follow through and load up on the raw veggies, salads like this avocado black bean and tomato recipe, and grilled veggies.
When soaking up the sun at your next barbecue, beware of confusing thirst for hunger! Keep a glass of water, can of seltzer, or a reusable water bottle close by. Drinking water will also help prevent feeling bloated later.
Choose Fruit For Dessert
After dinner, skip the chocolate cream trifle and satisfy your sweet tooth with some fresh slices of lusciously juicy, summery watermelon. You'll save on calories, and the high water content will fill you up.