Article

Tips to Survive Summer BBQ Season

It's summertime and the eating is easy—too easy. Here are four fixes for avoiding temptation this summer.

From EatingWell®

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.

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