It's summertime and the eating is easy—too easy. Here are four fixes for avoiding temptation this summer.
When the weather is fab and the days are long, the only thing to do is fire up the grill, round up family and friends, and feast. Everybody loves a barbecue, but if you’re trying to watch your weight, big food spreads may actually induce stress. Fortunately, we’ve got some ideas to help you enjoy summer eating without the guilt.
Fix #1: Pay attention to portions. Use these three points of reference:
• A tennis ball or baseball = about 1 cup (or use your clenched fist as a rough estimate). This measure is useful for scoopable sides (think: potato, pasta and bean salads). If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, aim for 1 cup total of these starchy side dishes.
• Your cell phone or a deck of cards = about 3 ounces meat. This measure comes in handy for estimating steak, chicken and fish.
• Your thumb = about 1 tablespoon. This measure comes in handy when you’re trying to estimate dressing or a spread. Most full-fat salad dressings have 50 to 100 calories per tablespoon (creamy ones fall toward the higher end); mayo (at 100 calories per tablespoon) is another one to watch. Choose reduced-fat varieties, which usually have half the calories, whenever you can.
Fix #2: Fill up on vegetables first.
• Eat loads of green salad—with only a couple of tablespoons of dressing, preferably one that’s lower in fat.
• Crunch on the crudités instead of the chips—and go easy on the dips.
Fix #3: “Prioritize” your favorite food.
• If you’re dying for a big cheeseburger, get in line at the grill. Stick with a green salad or grilled vegetables and fruit as sides.
• Not so big on buns? Go for grilled chicken, fish or tofu on top of greens and spend that starch serving on a scoop of the creamy potato salad you truly love.
• Have a piece of lean protein (chicken, fish), grilled vegetables and a healthy side (1/2 cup or so of baked beans or a bean salad) so you can indulge in dessert.
Fix #4: When you’re finished, go play.
• Start tossing a ball with the kids.
• Rally the adults to play horseshoes or some other outdoor game. No need to jump around like a fool to “burn off” dinner; the point is to pull yourself away from the chips and salsa.
BACK TO LIFESTYLE TIPS
© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.