What would 4th of July weekend be without a barbeque?!

Prior to living somewhere where we can grill year-round, summer BBQs were some of the highlights of my childhood. 

From waiting (im)patiently for the charcoal to heat up, to eating #allthemeats, to attempting watermelon seed spitting contests, to playing outside with friends, to the obligatory s’mores night cap, I can’t think of a single thing not to like.

As an adult, especially an adult trying to lose or maintain weight and/or healthy habits, those fond childhood memories might feel more like stressors

I mean, how will you control yourself around all the grilled meats and carb salads?

Here are 4 tips to help you avoid overeating at this year’s BBQs:

Insist on Contributing

While burgers, dogs, potato salad, and s’mores might be the first BBQ foods that jump to mind, in the summer, light dishes like fruit salad, veggie platters, and kabobs are also welcomed. To ensure that you get in some bright fruits & veggies, insist on bringing a dish to contribute. 

This watermelon salad is one of my faves; it’s super easy to make, requires few ingredients, is light, refreshing, and satisfying, and will impress the other guests (even though all you have to do is chop stuff). 

Bringing something aligned with your goals not only ensures that you have something to munch on but also makes you seem like a courteous guest. Have this dish be your Go To when you feel compelled to go back for seconds of something.

Cleanse your Palate

It’s tempting to go back for seconds the second you finish your first but we all know that often leads to overeating. Instead of rushing back to steal a second sausage out of a child’s hands, cleanse your palate with a piece of watermelon (or 3) after you finish your plate.

Watermelon is mostly water, anyway (and some carbs, ya, but wayyyyy fewer than in that pasta salad), so it’s like washing down your meal with a crunchy and delicious glass of water. Take a few minutes afterward to assess hunger/fullness and proceed to a second plate only if you’re below 80% full. 

(Plus, the between-course palate cleanse move is a super classy one that I learned when I worked at a fancy restaurant. As a dishwasher. Now you know). 

Be The Fun Adult

You know who’s not sitting around the buffet table agonizing over whether they want to go back for another helping of charred meat? Kids.

Kids are the ones splashing in the pool, chasing each other around the yard, playing games, and spinning in circles until they fall down. The eat when they get hungry or when a parent tells them to, they stop when they’ve had enough, and they resume activity.

Be like the kids and get out there! Be the fun adult that they all look forward to seeing because you actually play with them instead of sitting around being boring. Say “yes” when one tugs at your hand to come play. Grab a water balloon and join in the fun. Get up and get moving. It’ll help you realize that BBQs are about so much more than the food.

Moonlight as a Food Safety Officer

We all know food temptations are greater when they’re right in front of us. Out of sight, out of mind works wonders here, especially when you’re being social and likely wouldn’t be thinking about food if it wasn’t right in front of you.

Being concerned about food sitting out in the sun all afternoon will not only help everyone avoid a party-ruining bout of food poisoning, it’ll double as a great excuse to get the remaining food out of your face.

Offer to help bring everything back inside and package it up to get right into the fridge. Once it’s off the table and put away, it’ll be a lot less tempting & effortless to have “just one more bite.”

The Basics Still Apply

Hopefully these BBQ-specific tips are useful & remember that the basics still apply, even if you’re cooking out. What do I mean by that? You can still:

-Gauge portions using your hand

-Create a balanced meal of protein, veggies, smart carbs, and healthy fats

-Eat slowly and mindfully and stop before you’re stuffed.

Need help?

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