Tips to Survive Summer BBQ Season

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

Tips to Survive Summer BBQ Season

By EatingWell

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.

Fix #1: Pay attention to portions. Use these 3 memorable points of reference:

• A tennis ball or baseball = about 1 cup (or use your clenched fist as a rough estimate). This measure is useful for scoopable sides (think: potato, pasta and bean salads). If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, aim for 1 cup total of these side dishes.

• Your cell phone (provided you’ve upgraded since 1999) = about 3 ounces meat. (The other oft-cited reference for 3 ounces of meat is a deck of cards.) This measure is useful for steak, chicken and fish.

• Your thumb = about 1 tablespoon. This measure comes in handy when you’re trying to estimate dressing or a spread. Most full-fat salad dressings have 50 to 100 calories per tablespoon (creamy ones fall toward the higher end); mayo (at 100 calories per tablespoon) is another one to watch. Choose reduced-fat varieties, which usually have half the calories, whenever you can.

Fix #2: Fill up on vegetables first.

• Eat loads of green salad—with a couple of tablespoons of dressing, preferably one that’s lower in fat.

• Crunch on the crudités—go easy on dips—instead of chips.

Fix #3: “Prioritize” your favorite food—like this.

• 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.

• 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 on dessert.

Fix #4: When you’re finished, go play.

• Start tossing a ball with the kids.

• Rally the adults to play badminton or some other outdoor game. The point is to have fun and enjoy some physical activity to pull yourself away from the table.

Powered by EatingWell Brought to you by Million Hearts®