Tips for Staying Slim Through Summer BBQ Season(Printer-Friendly Version) | Eating Well

Tips for Staying Slim Through Summer BBQ Season

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_exercise_tips/tips_to_survive_summer_bbq_season

By EatingWell Editors

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

When the weather is fab and the days are long, the thing to do is this: fire up the grill, round up your 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—and that’s a problem. Fortunately, we’ve got fixes.

So you can enjoy the delicious spread—without letting the grazing get out of hand—it’s helpful to follow a few simple rules for smart eating at summer barbecues.

7 Tips for Surviving Summer BBQ Season »

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1. Contribute something that’s good for you.

If you bring a healthy potluck dish, you know that you’ll be able to get something nutritious in, no matter how decadent all the other offerings are. Here are some perfect summer potluck recipes to bring to the picnic.

2. Pay Attention to Portions »

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2. Pay attention to portions.

Use these 3 memorable points of reference:

3. Fill Up on Vegetables First »

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3. Fill up on vegetables first.

Eat loads of green salad—with a couple of tablespoons of dressing, preferably one that’s lower in fat. (Here are 13 great dressing recipes to try.) Crunch on the crudités—go easy on dips—instead of chips.

4. Have a Little Lean Protein »

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4. Have a little lean protein.

Studies show that, gram for gram, lean proteins help you to feel fuller than carbohydrates or fats, so enjoy a little bit of what’s grilling: a lean-beef burger, a piece of chicken (try these Sweet-&-Sour Chicken Drumsticks) or fish, some tofu. Aim for about 3 ounces, which is about the size of your cell phone—provided you’ve upgraded since 1999—or a deck of cards.

5. Don't Go Crazy with Starchy Carbs »

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5. Don’t go crazy with starchy carbs.

If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, limit yourself to 1 cup—total—of starchy side dishes, such as potato, pasta and those delicious bean salads. Of course, you’re not going to whip out a measuring cup at a social event! Instead, visualize a tennis ball—that’s about the size of 1 cup. So is the size of a woman’s fist.

6. "Prioritize" Your Favorite Food »

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6. “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. Does dessert look irresistible? Dig in. Just make room for it first. 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 without feeling guilty.

7. When You're Finished, Go Play »

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7. 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.