Lazy days, fun in the sun and backyard barbecues. There’s no better time of year.
But Summer can be a struggle when you’re trying to eat clean, especially when you’re invited to a party, cookout or wedding.
The traditional foods served at these get-togethers are loaded with calories and not so great for watching your waistline.
There are ways to make good choices, however, even when your choices are limited. Here are some suggestions for how to clean up your cook out food.
- Load up on veggies and some fruit. My favorite thing to bring to a party is a veggie tray. It’s easy, you can bring a fun dip for others to enjoy, and it guarantees something healthy for your plate. Load up on veggies (skimp on the dips) and the fiber will help you stay full without guilt. Fruit is a great option too, but try to go veggies first.
- Stick with lean proteins. Burgers on the grill are great but you want to avoid the brats. Grilled chicken breast is another great choice, or salmon if that’s an option. When it comes to the grill you want to try to stay away from the fattiest meats like hot dogs, bratwurst and pork.
- Ditch the bun. Burgers don’t need the bread, they are great with some mustard and a side of veggies. Save calories (and feel less bloated) by going bun-less this Summer.
- Stay away from salads and slaws made with heavy dressing. Pasta and potato salads as well as coleslaw are often made with mayo or other calorie-heavy dressings that can take a healthy dish and make it a diet disaster. Try to avoid salads that look creamy. Make your own with some vinegar and olive oil for a much lighter dish.
- Go bare with your baked potato. White potatoes are healthy and full of nutrients, and when they are steamed or grilled they are delicious and filling. The problem is what we load up on the potatoes. Cheese, bacon, sour cream etc. takes a healthy veggie and makes it an unhealthy treat. Eat the potatoes but flavor them with a little bit of butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper.
- Keep your cocktails few and far between. Nothing goes better with a barbecue than a beer, right? Sure, but nothing packs on empty calories and extra pounds like pounding alcohol. Stick with lighter choices like light beers or wine, and try to limit intake to no more than two drinks. Your body will thank you later.
Summer should be about enjoying the backyard and the beach without going completely off the rails on our healthy eating. But you don’t want to spend sunny days stressing about what to eat. Follow these simple rules and all your summer events can be fun and stress free, too!