P. Mehta, RD/ www.healthfulfilling.com
With the 4th of July barbeque coming up this weekend, it means a lot of food and fun. Just like any holiday or festivity, it could bring on apprehension about possible unwanted pounds, which can dampen the experience toward eating at any barbecue, especially when you see people without weight issues indulging!
So how about being able to enjoy the barbecue feast without the weight gain woes? This can happen! Here are a few tips to keep in mind this weekend when the wide array of delicious dishes meets your eyes and tempts your appetite:
Start with the salads, preferably with lots of veggies.
Consider half a burger instead of a whole burger.
Load the burger with veggies, so you get filled from healthy calories from the veggies.
If you’re making a pasta salad, use whole grain pasta to get in more whole grains that are higher in fiber, and less starchy.
Use whole wheat or whole grain hamburger buns.
Why a burger? You can opt for lean chicken breast, or lean turkey burgers, a veggie burger or a turkey, chicken, or veggie frank, which are lower in calories, and just as tasty.
Love the potato or macaroni salad? Use low fat or fat free mayonnaise, or eat just a few small spoons and savor each bite. Or, opt for coleslaw which has cabbage, lower in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Don’t avoid foods you love, just eat less of each favorite.
Save dessert for last, it does wonders as you will eat less of it. If you are tempted to eat more, split a dessert with someone.
Go easy on the drinks. Stop at one for diet soda or regular soda. Drink only one of any drink with calories. Don’t forget that alcohol is more caloric, 7 calories per gram. If you’re going to have beer, consider the lower calorie beer and stop at one. Fill your cup or glass with water and lemon when you’re done to sip on throughout the rest of the event.
If someone tries to get you to drink more, just say next time, or say you are going to be the driver that evening.
Had a few slip ups? Don’t worry. Walk that evening or swim a few laps, or join in on any games going on like volleyball or softball. Play running games with the kids for at least 30 minutes. That will help work off any extra calories.
Remember, focus on the right choices and have fun. Move around a lot, and don’t sit much. Have a fun and safe 4th of July holiday!