Thursday, May 22, 2014

BBQ Better!

It’s Memorial Day weekend and that is the official start of BBQ season! Those fun filled get-togethers this weekend with tons of food and friends are a fantastic way to celebrate our brave veterans, the great weather and end of school, but they can really do damage to your summer waist-line.

A typical plate can be well over 1,700 calories, 86 grams of fat (26 of them being saturated), 357 mg of cholesterol and 3,508 mg of sodium. This is what that plate would look like: a hamburger on a bun, a bratwurst on the side, a brownie, potato salad and baked beans. Now separately, those things are not the worst foods in the world, but pile them all high on a plate and devour them in one sitting, and it’s a calorie catastrophe.

So what’s a BBQ goer to do? Just follow these simple tricks to keep your heart and waistline healthy throughout the summer.

  1. Choose the right meat. If you have a choice, choose grilled chicken, turkey burger (93% lean) or very lean hamburger (93% lean). You will get a great protein pump without all the calories and fat (especially saturated fat) of the fatty burgers and brats.

  1. Don’t fill up on bread. Stay away from rolls and buns. Generally, these are made with refined, white flour anyway, so they can pack in the calories without providing an ounce of nutrition…just say no.

  1. Fill up on grilled or fresh veggies. They are low calorie, fiber-filled and nutrient packed.

  1. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit. It’s in season so it’s readily available. Again, it’s nutrient packed and much lower in calories than the typical baked goods.

  1. Only eat what you really REALLY want to eat. If you LOVE baked beans, have a little bit…not a bucket-full…but get a nice little taste (like ¼ cup) and be satisfied. If it’s brats that you drool over, have a half of one for your “meat” and call it a day.

  1. If you’re staying away from carbs all together, a BBQ should be easy for you...meat and veggies…make it your mantra!

  1. Bring something to the party that you can nosh on without guilt: think veggie tray (that’s what I bring to every party), fresh fruit or this delicious quinoa dish.

  1. Drink plenty…of water. Drinking water can keep you full and drinking alcohol can lower self control. Also, sometimes the body can’t tell between thirst and hunger, so drinking water before eating something is always a good call.

  1. Don’t go hungry. Make sure that you aren’t tempted beyond what you can bear because you went to the BBQ ravenous. Eat some of veggies and hummus, and apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter or a couple slices of turkey before heading to the party.

  1. Socialize AWAY from the food table. Don’t sit around or stand around talking and snacking at the food table. Get your plate and get away. That way, you won’t be tempted to just grab some more chips or pop another cookie in your mouth.

Check out this tasty, healthy (and very full) plate!

  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Grilled asparagus (10 spears)
  • Fruit Salad (1/2 cup)
  • Baked beans (1/4 cup)
  • Coleslaw (1/4 cup)
  • Chocolate chip cookies (1 cookie)

For all of that…including a cookie treat…it’s only about 550 calories, 15 grams of fat (5 saturated), 159 mg cholesterol, 509 mg sodium.

Enjoy your long weekend!

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