Seven Barbecue Survival Tips

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

At long last, Memorial Day Weekend is here. For many of us, it’s a three-day weekend that kicks off the summer—and barbecue season. So grills will be fired up in earnest, friends and family will gather and food will be abundant. But that doesn’t mean your diet is going to be derailed. Just follow these seven simple barbecue survival tips and learn how to navigate all those BBQ foods and drinks. Then watch yourself thrive at barbecues this holiday weekend—and all summer long.

Speak Up You wouldn’t hesitate to make special requests at a restaurant, right? Do the same with friends and family. After all, they get what you’re trying to accomplish by living healthier. So when your friend tries to slather your chicken with barbecue sauce, decline. When your dad wants to eliminate all white space on your plate, ask him to cut back. A simple two-letter word goes a long way.

Bring Your Own Food Perhaps the easiest way to remain on program at a barbecue is to stay in control—and what better way to do that than to take your own food? Bring lower-fat versions of your favorite BBQ staples like burgers and hot dogs and add them right to the grill.

Limit the extras Condiments like ketchup and mustard are OK, but your aunt’s coleslaw or your mom’s famous potato salad may not be. Be smart about your choices, and if you indulge in something that’s not that healthy, go small.

Focus on fruit and veggies Want some cookout food that’s both good for you and bursting with flavor? Then veg out. Try some tomatoes, pickles, onions, tomatoes and peppers (the latter of which are great grilled, by the way). Enjoy fresh fruit; it’s both tasty and refreshing—but be wary of watermelon, which is high-glycemic even though it’s mostly water.

Hydrate It may well be hot, so drinking plenty of water is a given. And we do mean water—not alcohol, and not soda, which can actually make you thirstier and hungrier. In contrast, water will help you stay quenched and full.

Stay active As tempting as it is to sit in a lawn chair and soak in the sun, that may not be so good for your health. Your best bet is to keep moving, even if it’s just a little bit, such as walking around or standing to chat, because being sedentary minimizes the amount you’re burning off, and increases the odds that you’ll just keep eating.

Remember It’s Memorial Day Weekend. It’s a time to remember loved ones and honor those who gave all. While you’re at it, remember why you go to barbecues in the first place—it’s about who you’re with, not how much you eat.