Just because you’re watching what you eat doesn’t mean you have to stay away from summer BBQs with friends and family! While they are a summertime tradition, the thought of picnics can be disheartening for someone trying to lose or maintain their weight. Use these tips to stay on track while still enjoying summer BBQs.
Use the tips below to create healthy alfresco dining for yourself, your family and your friends and to guide you on your weight loss journey.
1. Focus on activities:
To set yourself up for success, plan your summer barbeque events to include a combination of food and non-food activities. For example, throw a Frisbee with the kids, or start up a game of backyard cricket while the food is cooking. Anything you can do to focus on the time spent with others — and not the food — will help you stay on track.
2. Use the Healthy Plate Strategy:
Fill 1/2 of your plate with vegetables, 1/4 of your plate with a starch, such as a small scoop of pasta salad or potato salad, and 1/4 of your plate with lean meat, such as skinless poultry or beef tenderloin (85-115 grams).
3. Plan ahead for treats:
If you choose to indulge a little, talk with your consultant about how you can work a 1200 kilojoule splurge into your menu while balancing it out with extra physical activity — fitting in a little jog or walk is an easy way to burn the extra calories you may have consumed. If 80 percent of your meal consists of the good-for-you option, you have a little wiggle room to splurge on a small dessert, BBQ chicken or a beverage.
- Start with grilled vegetable skewers using ‘free foods’ like mushrooms, onion, capsicum and eggplant.
- For nibbles, trade out higher-fat options with sliced sweet potato ‘chips’ cooked on the BBQ.
- Have non-starchy vegetables like snow peas, cucumber and sliced yellow capsicum with fat-free dips or salsa available to snack on while the food is cooking.
- Serve low-calorie beverages, such as sparkling water, homemade iced tea or freshen up a jug of iced water with mint, raspberries, grapes or orange wheels.
- If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, go for wine spritzers with half a glass of wine topped with soda, or a nip of vodka, soda and fresh lime.
- Less alcohol and sugar means less kilojoules for your meal plan.
- Try one of these refreshing, guilt free drinks.
- Prepare a fresh fruit plate, fruit salad or fruit skewer for dessert using seasonal berries and melons — summer is the perfect time to make the most of healthful eating!
- Serve grilled fruit, such as grilled pineapple, as a side or a dessert.
- Fill a melon boat with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and top with your favourite non-fat yoghurt.
- Select lean meats for grilling such as chicken, fish or steak (loin or flank) with little or no fat — avoid high-fat meats like hamburger meat or pork.
- Rub your meats with herbs and spices before grilling to add more flavour without added fat.
- Use low fat or fat-free salad dressings as marinades for poultry, fish and lean meats.
- Make potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw with fat-free mayonnaise, sour cream or yoghurt. Add flavour with ‘free foods’ like capers, gherkins and fresh herbs. Mix in chopped celery, cucumber, onions and carrots to add volume to help you feel full without extra calories.
- Replace traditional creamy potato salad with a sweet potato, parsley and lemon vinaigrettes.
- Turn your green salad into a heartier side dish by adding cooked broccoli and dried cranberries, then chill and toss the salad before serving.
- Grill slices of vegetables like onion, zucchini and eggplant. These all count as ‘free foods’ – making your diet plan that much easier!
You don’t need to skip out on summer parties just because you’re eating healthier. Make it an active afternoon, choose treats wisely and bring your own food if necessary. Stay on track and enjoy your summer!