It’s the unofficial start to summer this weekend! The pools are opening, bathing suits are coming out of the closet, and hopefully sunscreen is near by. With the start of summer, come invitations for lazy days by the pool and food filled bbq’s. Putting it out there, sometimes all the bbq’s cause me a little anxiety – desserts, beverages, and endless condiments – pulling me in the opposite direction of my bathing suit! Finding balance is tricky but having a few back pocket go-to tricks helps me stay sane and enjoy the summer time without losing control or suffer from food FOMO (Jill Coleman’s term: Fear Of Missing Out).
Skip the bread. This one is pretty quick and dirty: go bun-less! Whether it is grilled chicken or a lean burger, forgo the added carbohydrates and spike in insulin. Get creative! Grab some lettuce and wrap up your protein. Better yet fill your plate up with salad and use your meat as a topping for your salad.
Stick with the REAL salad. BBQ’s tend to have a spectrum of “salads” from macaroni salad to potato salad. Talk about a surge of fat and carbohydrates that creep into our plate. If you must have some try sticking to a bite or two and replace the rest with REAL salad. Load up your plate with fibrous veggies. As for dressing stick with balsamic vinegar, fresh salsa, hummus or a serving of guacamole. A little too extreme: get the dressing on the side. If you are really trying to stay lean, nix the croutons, cheese, and bacon.
Get in workout. If you know you are heading out to a BBQ or picnic, make it a point to get in a good workout session that day, preferably high-intensity interval training, Metabolic Effect, or something of that nature. This is for two reasons: physical and mental. Physically, we want to create post exercise oxygen deficit, otherwise known as EPOC. This puts our body in a calorie burning state. Mentally, at least personally, I find it easier to commit to eating clean when I know I have spent time that day working out. My mind is clear, my focus is sharp, and I feel on top of my game.
Desserts: Only Three Bites. I learned this one from my great friends Jade Teta & Jill Coleman. There is no reason to live in deprivation all of the time. Yes there is a time in place, especially if you are competing or training for a specific feat. At the same time, there will be more cookouts, more desserts, more opportunity to eat junk. The “three bite rule” allows you to get a taste, not feel restricted, but again, doesn’t over do it. The key is balance.
Hydration. There plenty of refreshing calorie free beverages for the summertime. Staying hydrated with water can help you stay full and prevent overeating. My newest favorite has been sparkling water with a few slices of citrus fruit in it. Couple this with unsweetened iced tea and the possibilities for fruit filled calorie free creations are endless. If you choose to drink, do so responsibly and moderation. Stick to a 2-drink maximum and be sure to drink water throughout the event.
I would love to hear about your summer bbq tricks and tips to making them healthier! Let me know on Facebook or Twitter!
Here’s to a great summer! Find the balance between maintaining your health and your happiness. And don't forget your sunscreen!