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Healthy diet tips for summer BBQ season

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Summer BBQ survival guide

Summer is for baring skin and showing off that bikini body you've worked so hard to achieve. Don't let the summer cookouts and holiday BBQs be the ruin of your hot body efforts. The following diet tips for summer BBQ season will help you stay slim, trim and proud to bare skin throughout the warm weather months.

Summer BBQ

Survive summer BBQ season with these healthy diet tips

To help SheKnows readers navigate cookouts and avoid overeating at food-centric summer get togethers, like Memorial Day and Fourth of July, Zone Delivery USA, a leading Zone diet delivery service, offers the following diet tips.

Diet tip #1: Veg out

Instead of sitting down to a plate of high-calorie ribs as your first course, load up on salad and veggies before you hit the grilled meats. You'll not only get a healthy, low-calorie dose of antioxidants, you'll be less likely to overeat the higher calorie foods. Make eating your veggies convenient and grill them in aluminum foil alongside the other grilled goodies.

Diet tip #2: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Drinking a large glass of water before eating a meal will slow you down and help reduce your caloric intake. It can also help you avoid dehydration, which can sap your energy and cause false-hunger signals.

Diet tip #3: Go skinless

Before eating, remove the skin from chicken and turkey. Additionally, choose skinless ground poultry meat for your burgers. Be sure to check the label and choose the poultry that is lowest in fat.

Diet tip #4: Watch your alcohol

Cold beers on a hot day go down fairly easily — but that doesn't make them calorie- or carb-free. If you're indulging in alcohol, it's important to watch your carbs. To help reduce your alcohol intake, drink a glass of water in between each serving of alcohol. Also, to balance out the carbs, eat a few bites of protein for every beer or glass of wine you drink.

Diet tip #5: Don't let the name "salad" fool you

Avoid potato and macaroni salads — they are loaded in saturated fats, carbs and starches — unless you know they are chockfull of chopped veggies and have been made with a low-fat dressing. Even still, don't overindulge on the carb-heavy fare.

Diet tip #6: Use whole wheat buns

In addition to choosing whole wheat buns over white, eat your burger open-faced (one half of a bun) to even out your protein and carbohydrate ratio. You can also substitute pita bread for hot dog and burger buns.

Diet tip #7: Use your hand to determine portion control

Just because your plate is full doesn't mean you need to eat it all. Use this guide to control your portion sizes:

  • Size of hand: Carbohydrates (complex carbohydrates like whole grain buns, pasta, brown rice, etc.)
  • Size of palm: Protein including chicken, fish, beef, turkey, egg whites, low fat cheeses, and tofu
  • Size of thumb: Fats and oils, nuts, avocado and olives

Diet tip #8: Think fish

Grilling is actually a low-fat way to prepare food, but only if you choose lower fat foods. Beef burgers, hot dogs and ribs, which are typical barbecue fare, are high in fat and calories. Fish, on the other hand, is high in heart-healthy omega-3s ("good for you" fats) and typically lower in calories. Try tuna steaks and salmon fillets — they hold up to grilling and are packed with lean protein.

Diet tip #9: Don't deprive yourself

if you're craving a cheeseburger, make a small meat patty and eat your burger open-faced with healthy sides like salad and grilled veggies.

Diet tip #10: Get moving

When you're finished eating, get up and play! Stepping away from the picnic table will keep you from mindlessly munching and eating when you aren't even hungry. A game of horseshoes, Frisbee or bocce ball will help you burn extra calories and give you a fun way to bond with your family and friends.

More healthy diet tips and recipes

Top 30 diet tips 
Healthy Memorial Day menu on the grill
Grilled salad recipes 

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