What’s the best way to spend a beautiful, sunny, clear day? If you ask me, it’s hard to beat a barbecue or picnic with loved ones. The smell of meat and veggies on the grill, backyard games, great conversation . . . Ahhh.
But if you’re making a conscious decision to choose healthy foods, barbecues and picnics can feel a little like a minefield. After all, who wants to be that person showing up to the party and refusing to eat anything?
Luckily, there are a ton of ways to enjoy barbecues and picnics without having to miss out on the joys of cooking and eating with your friends! With just a few modifications, you can enjoy barbecues and picnics just as much as everyone else, without derailing your food plan. Here are a few of my favorite tips for doing just that.
Whoever plans the party sets the menu, right?? By hosting the event, you can choose what foods you’ll serve. Opt for healthy-but-tasty choices like grilled chicken breasts, veggie skewers, and a big summer salad. Trust me, your friends won’t fuss about the lack of hotdogs—in fact, depending on how many other barbecues they’ve attended recently, they may even welcome something a little different!
If you’re a guest at someone else’s shindig, you can’t control the whole menu. But you CAN be a gracious guest and bring food to share. Similarly to above, showing up with a big salad to share, a few fillets of chicken breast or fish for the grill, or even a bowl of fresh fruit for a healthy dessert ensures that you have something healthy to eat, and most hosts won’t mind a bit!
Maybe you’ve really been craving a classic cheeseburger or bratwurst from the grill. If you decide to treat yourself to standard BBQ faire, that’s totally fine! But watch your portions. Enjoying a cheeseburger with all the fixings is okay, but do you really need that cheeseburger, a hotdog, a few beers, and ice cream for dessert? I’d argue that you very likely do not.
On the topic of having a few beers, one of the biggest tips I have for enjoying a barbecue or picnic the healthy way is to watch your alcohol consumption. When you drink more, you’re more likely to overeat. To keep yourself feeling refreshed in even the hottest temperatures, I recommend having not one but three glasses of water in between each alcoholic beverage. This will help curb your appetite, keep you from over-indulging on alcoholic beverages, and ensure that you stay hydrated.
In matters like summer social events, your happiness is the most important thing. If you’re passionate about sticking to your food plan, these tips will help you accomplish that. However, if you end up splurging a little more than you meant to at your next event, it’s important not to beat yourself up. Just enjoy your food, have a great time, and get back on plan ASAP—no guilt necessary.
If you have a go-to healthy dish for summer events, I’d love to hear more about it! Leave your response in the comments section below. Until next week, I hope you’re living a life you love without being hungry, feeling deprived, or giving up your glass of wine with dinner.