Independence Day weekend is this weekend, which means the start of parties, barbecues and lots of food. To help you avoid those tempting, high-caloric foods and keep a trim waistline for the upcoming bathing suit season, here are some tips to keep in mind as we head into the unofficial start of summer:
1. Expand your grilling horizons. Grilling doesn’t have to be limited to hot dogs and hamburgers. Don’t forget about fruits and vegetables, which happen to taste great right off the grill. Brush with olive oil and throw right onto the grill. Summer squash, eggplant, red peppers, peaches and nectarines are some of my favorites.
2. Reinvent old favorites. Typical barbecue side dishes tend to be laden with full-fat mayonnaise. One of my favorite tricks it to swap out half the mayo with nonfat Greek yogurt and use light mayo in place of regular. You can reduce calories and saturated fat without compromising texture. Potato salad with pesto and mint is another favorite of mine for a dose of heart healthy fats.
3. Sip smart. Warm weather makes us think of fruity, calorically dense cocktails. Stay festive with seasonal sippers such as unsweetened iced tea with lemon and mint; fruit infused water (soak your fruit of choice in water overnight – citrus always works great); or seltzer with a splash of juice. Watch your alcohol intake and skip the sugary mixers.
4. Don’t arrive starved. The same rule applies year round. Arrive to a party or meal starved and all bets are off. It becomes challenging to make a healthy food choice when you are ravenous. Reach for a protein and fiber rich snack before you head out to keep you satiated and sane. A handful of nuts, hummus and crudités or string cheese and fruit are all good choices.
5. Pick your indulgence. Life is too short to not enjoy your favorite dishes, but portion size counts. Go into the meal with a plan and decide what your indulgence will be. Keep the portion size small (1 hot dog, a handful of chips, ½ cup of coleslaw). Eat your indulgence slowly to really enjoy it and fill up the rest of your plate with healthier fare.
Want more genConnect?
- For more daily expert updates, follow genConnect on Twitter and Facebook.
- To stay on top of Melissa O’Shea’s latest posts, as well as the latest contributions from other experts on the site: Sign Up for genConnect.