Summer is in full swing, and often at the center of warm-weather festivities are outdoor picnics, barbecues, and cook-outs. While these gatherings often feature menus with high-calorie foods, with a bit of mindfulness, you can still make healthy choices while enjoying all the fun with these tips:
Make Minor Modifications
Cheeseburgers are packed with hidden, and oftentimes unnecessary calories. Ranging from plain white to decedent brioche, hamburger buns add anywhere from 100-300 calories to your meal. A slice of American cheese is an additional 100 calories, which, after melting, doesn’t have a strong enough flavor profile to make it worth it’s while. And mayo is another 100 calories to boot. So, instead of sandwiching your hamburger in a bun, try wrapping the patty in a leaf of crisp iceberg lettuce and skip the cheese. It’s likely you won’t even miss it.
Skip the Chips
Tortilla chips & salsa. Potato chips & onion dip. Corn chips & chili con queso. While most cookouts have chips a-plenty, try to avoid the urge and snack on fresh veggies instead while the main course is on the grill. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers are much lower in calories, higher in water content & nutrients, and have an equally satisfying crunch.
Savor the Flavor
Fresh summer corn is one of the season’s tastiest veggies, especially when grilled on an open flame. Resist the urge to drench the corn in butter. Every serving of butter is 100 calories and can add up fast. Instead, try sprinkling with a tiny bit of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to enhance the natural flavor, kick things up with chili flakes, or even a dash of garlic powder.
Water is the most important thing you can drink, especially on hot summer days. Try adding fresh fruit to liven things up. A couple of strawberries, cucumber slices, and citrus taste great and might help motivate you to stay hydrated.
Brownies, bars, and cookies abound at summertime gatherings. Instead of indulging in such sugary treats, opt for fruit instead. Watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, and raspberries are sweet and have a much healthier nutrient profile than bakery treats. And if you are craving a frozen treat on a hot summer day, you can munch on frozen grapes or berries, or even a frozen fruit bar. Just make sure to read the label first.
I hope these tips help you to make better food choices while still enjoying summer barbecues with family and friends without compromising your healthy lifestyle and until next week, be happy, healthy, and beautiful!