Summertime parties are so much fun, but they are hard to navigate when you’re watching your weight. Not only is there a ton of food on display, but much of it is too rich and decadent to be healthy. There are some ways to eat right and still attend a backyard bbq. By using some of them, you can enjoy good food, time with friends and family and still go home without any eating guilt. Here’s how to stay on track next time you’re hanging in the yard.
1. Choose Grilled Chicken over Burgers or Hot Dogs
Chicken breast is lower in fat and calories than both hamburgers and hot dogs. You can satisfy your appetite with a good amount of meat and still have space for a side dish or two. Chicken doused in BBQ sauce is an iconic summertime food so indulge away. If there isn’t any chicken, have half a burger or stick to a plate of healthy side dishes.
2. Fill up on Salad While the Grill Heats up
Chances are there’s a veggie tray or tossed veggie salad on the buffet table. Have a portion of that to take the edge off your hunger and keep you from overdoing it when the main course is served. Go easy on the dip and salad dressings as they can quickly ruin an otherwise healthy choice. A tablespoon of either is plenty to add flavor and keep your goals intact.
3. Skip Mayo Salads and Choose Vinegar Based Ones Instead
This includes macaroni and potato salad, as well as coleslaw. Look for versions that aren’t swimming in mayo. They are likely made with a vinegar base, which is much better in terms of fat and calorie content. The tangy flavor is light and won’t leave you feeling sluggish on a hot summer day.
4. Bring Something to Share That is in Line with Your Health Goals
Most backyard bbqs are potlucks, so feel free to bring something healthy that will fill you up and satisfy your food cravings. That way, if all else fails, you can have a heaping portion of that alongside a dab of your indulgences. Your healthy dish may just be the favorite so be sure to bring enough that you can get full while also sharing it with the other guests.
5. Go for the Baked Beans before They’re Gone
Beans are chock full of fiber, which satisfies hunger and digests slowly. That means you won’t be heading back to the buffet table time and time again to fill your belly. Plus, baked beans are also low in fat and high in protein. They pair well with grilled chicken or fish and are hearty enough to round out a small meal so you can feel virtuous about your choices.
6. Skip the Soda and Frozen Cocktails in Favor of Iced Tea or White Wine
I would never suggest going totally liquor free at a bbq if that’s not your style. However, you should stay away from the pina coladas and margaritas and opt for lighter beverages. White wine is perfect! Or you could save the calories for dessert and have unsweetened iced tea with lemon instead.
7. Take Two Bites of Dessert and Be Done
Research shows that the first two bites are the best, so stop there and you can satisfy a sweet tooth while also sticking with your health goals. If you can’t stop at two, opt for berries with whipped cream, which is healthy and decadent at the same time.
How do you make healthy choices at a bbq? What are your favorite foods to indulge in?