Tips for healthy eating at a barbecue

May 29, 2013

Summer is upon us, and for many Americans that means extra time to spend with friends, family, and, of course, that favorite all-American pastime: barbecues. If you’ve been vigilant about your fitness routine – making sure to use your TRUE Fitness home treadmill several times a week – you may be a bit nervous about continuing your healthy habits when all that grilled meat is laid before you. Don’t worry! We have some handy tips that will help you stay on track:

1. Eat before you go
You know how you’re never supposed to grocery shop on an empty stomach? The same rule applies to barbecues. You may be looking forward to the vast spread of tasty treats that accompanies any good old-fashioned backyard barbeque – and no one’s telling you not to enjoy yourself – but having a healthy snack beforehand will decrease your chances of accidentally overindulging.

2. Avoid the potato salad
Potatoes are healthy, so potato salad should be fine too, right? False. It actually can contain upward of 450 calories, so you’re much better off reaching for healthier snacks like fruit salad or those crunchy carrots on the vegetable plate. Most hosts will have a few low-calorie options available, so to try to indulge in food like corn on the cob and lean cuts of meat instead of a cheeseburger.

3. Keep the cocktails to a minimum
If you really want to cut back on the calories, minimize the amount of alcohol you consume, or opt for low-calorie cocktails instead of beer. If you don’t indulge in the afternoon, you’ll consume fewer empty calories and be less likely to lose your willpower to eat healthy as the night progresses.

4. Aim for a well-balanced meal
With so many options to choose from, it shouldn’t be too difficult to construct a well-balanced meal for yourself at a barbecue. Imagine separating your plate into four sections: one for protein, one for vegetables, one for fruit (not to be confused with that marshmallow-infused fruit salad) and one for grains, like brown rice or quinoa.

5. Don’t partake in ‘all you can eat’
Once you’ve crafted a well-balanced plate and taken your seat at the picnic table, don’t fill your plate again! One helping of each food group is plenty. Instead of continuing to munch on snacks, mingle and spend time talking with your friends and family. If you follow these tips, you’ll feel much better when you hop on your fitness treadmill the next morning.