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CalorieKing’s Healthy Summer Holiday BBQ Tips

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net

While many people associate winter with straying from their diets and packing on the pounds, many of us find they suffer equally from summer time weight gain.  Between long holiday weekends, trips to local fairs and the ballpark, and vacation eating, many of us feel like our diets crash and burn in the summer sun.  It seems like food is part of every summertime ritual; but we may deceive ourselves into thinking that because the weather is nice we are more active than we really are.

There is nothing we here at CalorieKing love more than a good plan.  It’s what keeps us on track with our calories in/calories out mantra.  It helps us navigate those times when we can’t control all of the circumstances around us.  So, because we hold dear this love of plans, we’ve put together a handy CalorieKing checklist to help you navigate one of the most ubiquitous of summertime activities – the summer backyard party/bbq:

  • Remember portion control. Opt for smaller sizes, or cut larger size portions in half.  Remember you don’t need to try ALL the sides, but if you do choose to indulge, just make it a taste or use smaller sized plates!
  • Go skinless! Choose skinless chicken breasts when cooking or if you receive a portion that has skin, just remove it!
  • Look for the lowest fat cuts of meat, or trim off excess fat. Stay away from processed meats such as hot dogs, sausages or brats… high in chemicals, salt and who knows what else?  Consider turkey burgers and fish as lower calorie alternatives.
  • Marinade well and use oils sparingly. Marinades provide maximum flavor with fewer calories than heaps of toppings; they also reduce the formation of certain carcinogens believed to form the heat and smoke caused by grilling at high temperatures. Look for recipes lower in sugar; add vinegar, herbs, citrus and other natural flavors instead.  If you add oil, use just enough to emulsify the marinade.  If using directly on the meat lightly rub olive oil over each side with your fingers and flavor with salt and pepper. This should be no more than half a teaspoon per serving.
  • Opt for a whole grain bread/bun instead of white. The added grains and fiber are good for your diet!
  • Don’t forget the fruits and veggies! Fruits and veggies are amazing on the grill – a little marinade amps up the already amazing flavor.  You decide whether you want to lay items directly on the grill, skewer in kebabs or wrap in aluminum foil.  It all tastes good!
  • Skip the chips -potato or otherwise. When choosing items to use with a dip go veg!   For side dishes think get creative with veggies or use whole-wheat pasta options.
  • Avoid the mayonnaise in potato or pasta salads.  Look for recipes that have vinaigrettes or marinades with small amounts of oil.  Or, try using plain low-fat yogurt or mashed avocados in salads for a twist!  Remember, one TABLESPOON of regular mayonnaise has 90 calories alone!

    Image: Freedigitalphotos.net

  • Quench your thirst with plenty of water. BBQ foods can be high in salt – combine that with being out in the sun and heat – and you can develop quite a thirst.  Limit calorie-laden sodas, energy drinks, lemonades and fruit juices; If you choose to drink alcohol do so in moderation.  Ditch the empty calories and drink plenty of water instead.

Remember, a family party or outdoor BBQ with friends and coworkers doesn’t have to be a diet nightmare!  Thinking ahead by checking our food database will help you make a plan, and the enjoyment of being with others can help you slow down.  Just have fun!

Share with us YOUR favorite healthy BBQ dish or summertime memory!

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