5 Hacks to Avoid Derailing Your Healthy-Eating Habits at a Summer Barbecue

When all those invites for Summer barbecues start rolling in, the last thing you want is to skip the party just so you don't end up totally sidetracking your healthy-eating habits. If you still want to be social but aren't really up for eating all the delicious but sometimes unhealthy options a cookout offers — we also sometimes end up feeling bloated, lethargic, and low energy after attending a few too many Summer events — there are a few simple things you can do to stay healthy.

Watching your sugar, making the right cocktail choice, and even packing your own lunch can make a huge difference in your weight-loss goals. Find a few tips ahead, but don't forget, life is all about balance, and enjoying all the yummy food at your next BBQ is also 1,000 percent fine!

Skip the Buns
Unsplash | Tom Sodoge

Skip the Buns

Hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausages are, of course, all over every Summer BBQ party, but they can add up in calories, fat, and carbs very quickly. My best advice: skip the buns. I promise you won't miss them!

Ask for a couple pieces of lettuce to wrap up your burger — protein style if you know that menu item from In-N-Out Burger. You'll love the crunch that a fresh chunk of romaine or iceberg lettuce gives, and you'll feel so much less full after you finish your meal (not like you need a power nap to keep going).

Load up your plate with healthy sides like tomatoes, sauerkraut (great for gut health), shredded lettuce, carrots, onions, and more veggies. This will add lots of volume to your meal without a ton of extra calories, so you will feel full and keep down that bloat since you will be retaining a lot less water due to fewer carbs in your meal.

Bring Your Own Healthy Option
Unsplash | Maarten van den Heuvel

Bring Your Own Healthy Option

If you're worried there may not be many healthy options available at your friend's cookout, bring your own low-cal dish (and enough to share with everyone!). We like baked Paleo chicken fingers and zucchini hot dogs.

You can also bring a light, summery salad, loaded up with tons of fresh veggies and a homemade vinaigrette. You could also prechop some veggies, like zucchini, peppers, and red onion, and throw some spices over them with a drizzle of avocado oil. Get the one in charge of the grill at the party to throw them on the barbecue.

Avoid All Things Super Sugary
Unsplash | John Canelis

Avoid All Things Super Sugary

Sugary drinks, like sweet iced tea, and dessert can be the hardest things to resist at a BBQ. Sugar can be so detrimental to your health, so stay strong!

If you hate the idea of being left out while others indulge, make your own low-calorie dessert to bring to the party. You can also substitute sugar for a natural alternative, like monk fruit, in your favorite recipe. It doesn't raise your blood sugar, bakes very similar to the real thing, and is much easier on the stomach compared to other sugar alternatives or alcohols.

Want a lazier alternative? Pack some fruit! Just make sure you skip high-sugar fruit like bananas, watermelon, and grapes.

Detox Before
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

Detox Before

If you know you want to have fun and loosen up on your healthy-eating rules at the next Summer BBQ you attend, you could take a preventative approach. Take on a clean-eating plan ahead of the big party, choosing healthy veggies, water with lemon, and perhaps even intermittent fasting.

Watch the Cocktails
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

Watch the Cocktails

Who doesn't love a good, delicious cocktail here or there? Just make sure the sip you're reaching for isn't packed with sugar or caloric alcohol. Incorporate as much fruit as possible, including fresh berries, and herbs. Vodka and tequila are the cleanest spirits to opt for.

If you'd like a glass of wine instead, go for the driest one offered at the party. Dry wines have much less sugar than sweet ones, so you won't have a huge blood sugar rise and crash effect.