The 4th of July is upon us! That means fireworks, parades, fun with friends and family and of course barbecues! 4th of July & summer barbecues are fun… but you're often standing around food and drinks for hours - making it sometimes hard to stick with our long-term goals. I’m definitely an advocate for cheat meals, but to make sure that your 4th of July cheat meal doesn’t turn into a cheat day these are my favorite tips and recipes!
Have a light meal or snack beforehand
It can be tempting to not eat before your BBQ to “save” your calories for indulging. But this can lead to excessive hunger and overeating later. Have a light meal or snack about an hour before you plan to start celebrating. This way you can keep your hunger in check, and you won’t go nuts when you see that bag of chips!
Choose one of these healthy + delicious grill recipes:
The best thing about a good old-fashioned BBQ is that they can be an incredibly healthy if you choose the right thing.
If you're not the grill master: Bring Veggies!
Instead of chips, desserts, or alcohol, bring a platter of vegetables and hummus or salsa. Everyone appreciates it - mindless snacking on veggies isn't so bad!
It’s easy to put back hundreds of additional calories in alcohol alone. Choose how many drinks you’ll have at the event ahead of time - and then alternate with 1-2 glasses of water or seltzer in between your alcoholic drinks to keep you hydrated and slow you down.
Lower calorie drinks: seltzers such as White Claw or High Noon (~100 cals), Light beers such as Bud light (~103 cals) or tequila/vodka with water or soda water as the mixer (~85 cals).
Wine, craft beers and mix drinks like margaritas tend to be in the 150+ calorie range per beverage.
Try one of these fun and light drink recipes:
Swap flavored seltzer water or spa water for sodas
Cookouts involve standing around for hours- which can make it tough not to have a drink in hand. Limit your sugary beverages by drinking flavored seltzer water instead of soda. Buy your favorite seltzer water such as Bubly or AHA, or simply spice up plain water by adding a twist of fresh lemon, lime, oranges or muddled berries. Mint leaves or basil will make your drink extra refreshing too!
Skip Sugary Deserts
This is the season when tons of fresh fruit is available from the grocery, farmers markets, and fruit stands! Cut up strawberries and melon or grill peaches, pineapple, or bananas to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding unnecessary processed sugar.
When in doubt, follow the Plate Method!
The plate method can help you build a healthy plate no matter where you’re eating.
Build your plate to include: ¼ plate protein, ½ plate carbohydrates, ½ plate produce such as fruits and veggies + 1-2 tbsp fat such as avocado, olive oil, butter, cheese etc.
To put this in cookout perspective, it might look like one of the images below.
image source: www.collegenutritionist.com
I hope these tips will help you as you plan for your 4th of July celebration.
Wishing you and yours a fun, sunny, and safe holiday!