With summer comes all of the fun of family get-togethers and backyard BBQs. You’ve worked hard to stay on track all year long. Whether you are dieting and have an acutely specific number of calories to take in each day or you don’t want to waste a 60-minute workout session on that greasy burger, these types of events can be traumatic to your waistline. What can you eat and not ruin your fitness plan? Don’t simply avoid going – just take some time to choose foods wisely. These tips will help you along the way:
#1: Choose the protein, minus the bread
If you have the choice of hamburgers or cheeseburgers and not much else, make wise decisions. For example, you can cut out a lot of the processed food and starchy carbs by skipping the bun. Enjoy your burger with as many veggies as you can get on the plate, and enjoy it all without the bun. While eating a turkey burger might be a better option, you are still taking in protein. Of course, if you can choose which type of protein to enjoy, choose chicken or fish over beef whenever possible.
#2: Increase the amount of water you drink each day
A great trick to avoiding overheating and dehydration from the hot summer sun is to drink plenty of water. Drink a glass or two before you arrive. Then, for every alcoholic beverage you drink, drink another glass of water at least. Doing this can help to flush the “bad” foods away water while also minimizing the risk of a hangover the next day.
#3: Always go for the veggies
Even if they are covered in dressing or oils, vegetables of any type are better than eating hot dogs or a decadent dessert. It is important to monitor how much salad dressing-covered vegetables you consume during the day. For example, coleslaw is a popular choice, but it can be weighed down heavily with full-fat mayo. Another troublesome choice is baked beans. You think they may be healthy for you until you realize they are loaded with sugar. Whenever possible, enjoy grilled vegetables as your first choice.
#4: Skip the barbecue sauce
A big driver of hidden calories is barbecue sauce. Even a small portion of sauce can deliver 10 to 20 grams of sugar. If possible, bring along a sugar-free version, a mustard-based version, or even a hot sauce instead. These don’t contain as much sugar and still add a lot of flavor to foods.
#5: Eat in moderation
It isn’t polite or realistic to eat nothing at your next gathering, but that doesn’t mean you have to fill your plate with high-calorie foods. A better option is to eat what is available in moderation. You don’t have to eat the entire burger, for example. You can eat a dessert, but aim for lower calorie foods and a smaller portion of each choice.
#6: Take steps to minimize calories
If you know you are going to a BBQ, eat a lower calorie diet throughout the day. You can also plan to work out a bit more that day to give your body more time to burn through the extra calories. It also helps to eat a smaller meal before you do go so that you are not tempted to eat too much. Plan in advance, too, by asking what types of food will be served and offering to bring a dish that you know you can eat and enjoy.
The summer BBQ is fun, freeing, and one of the most exciting social events of the season. You do not have to miss it because you are on a fitness plan and working to get healthy. Just make sure you get out there and play a game of volleyball or get in some extra workouts to help compensate for the types of foods you’ll be consuming. With some careful planning, you can easily navigate the BBQ and still have fun.