The 4th means hot weather, an extra day off from work, firework displays, and, of course, a BBQ with friends or family. And, if you’re not careful, this mid-summer holiday can also be a healthy eating pitfall. Between the heavy, creamy salads and the sugary beverages and desserts, your family BBQ can turn into an unhealthy nightmare. However, with a little guidance and careful planning, you can take your gathering from a diet-bomb to a diet-boon.
For one, don’t be afraid to introduce a little activity into your otherwise lazy afternoon. You might be surprised at how many in your group will be happy to participate in a group game or activity. Why not resurrect some old outdoor classics, such as bocce ball, croquet, or badminton? Try a version of Frisbee-Golf that can be played in any park. Each person grabs a Frisbee, and as a group pick a target in the distance (say, a tree or a sign) and decide the par number (how many throws it'll take to hit it). If you go over par you get a point, and after a few "holes" the lowest score wins. Not only will you do a lot of walking, or chasing your disc, but this game allows for some good conversation as well.
And as for the food, don't be afraid to change things up there as well. If you're the host it'll be easy to have control over the menu and serve lighter, healthier fare. We love the ideas mentioned in this article. In addition, for drinks, there are lots of options for low-calorie beverages; either with or without alcohol. One of our favorite beverage ingredients is unsweetened seltzer water, in any of the wide variety of flavors offered in most grocery stores. Serve this refreshing drink on its own with a slice of citrus squeezed in, or as a way to cut the calories in juice, soda, wine, or mixed/hard alcohol drinks. Find other low-calorie cocktail recipe ideas in this article.
As the guest of a BBQ, your healthy eating is largely at the mercy of the hosts. However, there are some strategies you can use for success. For one, before you hit the food line, make sure you assess all your options to prevent filling your plate with potato salad and cookies when there are salads and fruit hiding at the other end of the table. Also, try and have a snack with protein and a healthy fat an hour or so before the party. That way, you won’t be as likely to indulge on the calorie-laden options when the food is served.
By implementing a few changes to your usual 4th of July party, you can relax and enjoy the parties and picnics without the worry of derailing your healthy lifestyle.