Whether you call it a cook out, barbecue, or picnic, this weekend Americans will celebrate the start of summer with a plethora of delicious foods that while tasty, may hold back your plans for a rocking summer beach body.
It’s obvious that having a salad is much healthier than eating a double bacon cheeseburger, but some of the choices at your family feast won’t be so simple. Following these five easy steps will help you enjoy the delicious food this holiday weekend, and still feel good about yourself the next day. From appetizers to desserts these tips can help you survive the temptation to splurge.
1. Appetizers: Eat before you go to your family cook out.
“Eat before you go to your family function,” says Moli Dui personal trainer at , adding that “This way you won’t feel so hungry and are less likely to overindulge.”
Have some healthy snacks or small meal at home before you leave your house to avoid overeating once you get to that family gathering.
While easy to serve because all you have to do is open a bag and you’re done, potato chips are probably the most popular snack at any cookout, but also the unhealthiest. A small bag of potato chips can have up to 400 calories depending on the brand. Try substituting almonds, or unsalted plain popcorn as a healthier alternative.
2. Side dishes: When faced with a tough choice, take the lesser of the evils.
Baked beans, mac n’ cheese, and potato salad will probably be the three most popular side dishes in America this Memorial Day. Unfortunately, they are also probably the worst for you. None of these are a healthy side dish. It is Memorial Day, so don’t have a little of all of them just have a little of one.
“If I had to choose one, I would go with the beans.” said Dui. “They offer some protein and are the best of the three.”
While you may disagree with the acoustic side effects of the baked beans it is the better way to go.
3. Main course: Try an old favorite with a new twist.
“Try a hamburger with no bun, and wrapped in lettuce,” says Dui. “I will probably eat a burger like this, but ideally you would want to eat grilled chicken.”
A typical burger has about 500 calories, without the bun you could cut those calories by about a third. Remember to stick to just one burger patty. Portion size also makes a big difference.
4. Keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum.
It’s no secret that beer, margaritas, and daiquiris are filled with empty calories. Even light beer has about 100 calories per serving. If you absolutely must have a drink, try to limit yourself to a couple and no more than one alcoholic drink per hour. Also beware of heavily sugared drinks such as sodas, lemonade, and some fruit juices. Making your own iced tea is a great alternative.
“Slow down,” says Dui. “Sip, and don’t chug.”
5. Have some fruit for dessert.
Watermelon or pineapple make a great dessert and will satisfy your sweet tooth. Watermelon is another staple to any barbecue so choose this for something sweet after your meal instead of having cookies or ice cream.
Try following at three of these tips this holiday weekend, and your body will thank you when reality sets in on Tuesday!