Healthy Tips to Navigate the Summer BBQ

June 18, 2021

Summer is finally here!


Bring on the beach vacations, pool parties, and BBQs. BBQs can be a great way to gather with friends and enjoy the sunshine, but they can also lead to consuming higher amounts of food (and alcohol) than you typically would. Here are some tips to stay smart at the summer BBQ.



1. Eat Off a Plate

Aside from hamburgers and hot dogs a BBQ may also have chips and finger foods that are easy to snack on mindlessly. Always make sure to grab a plate to be aware of how much you are eating and then if you are still hungry go back and fill the plate up again.



2. Pick a Spot Away from the Food

Once you get your plate of food join some friends in another area of the party. Staying near the food area may make it more tempting to grab seconds and thirds when you are not actually hungry. For example, seeing baked mac and cheese come fresh out of the oven to the food table might be intriguing even if you are feeling full. This can also include participating in a round of cornhole or having a fun summer photo shoot when you are done eating.



3. Offer to Bring the Veggies

Bringing a veggie tray, salad, or fruit platter to a BBQ will ensure that there will be a veggie option available to go with your entrée. Fill up about half of your plate with fruit and vegetables to cut back on calories from other, higher caloric side options.



4. Stay Hydrated

Usually at BBQs there tends to be alcohol around. Whether your drink of choice is a beer or a White Claw it is important to keep in mind that alcohol dehydrates the body. Stay aware of how much water you are drinking by drinking one cup of water for every alcoholic beverage. If you are not drinking any alcohol, then try to drink 1-2 cups every hour to avoid dehydration. In the warmer summer months, our bodies usually need more water to keep us hydrated.


5.  Take Some To-Go

All of the food may look so good that you want to try it all! If you are feeling full grab a plate and set it aside for later or the next day. Sometimes it can be difficult to truly enjoy the food if we do not have any more room in our stomachs to eat it. Saving it for later will help keep you from feeling over-stuffed and it will probably taste better too! This is especially relevant when it is time for dessert. Pick 1-2 desserts at the BBQ that you really want to try and anything else you did not get to can be saved for later.



Keep these tips in mind at your next summer gathering, but most importantly have fun! Listen to your body and provide it with good foods while you are having a good time.

The Author

Jessica Goldberg, MS, RD, LDN

My passion for nutrition began at a young age when I caught myself wondering why it is important to eat fruits and vegetables. My curiosity persisted as I decided to pursue a career in this field. Throughout my education I was fascinated to understand the unique and important roles that different foods play in our bodies. As a dietitian I aim to communicate this information to individuals in order to help them meet their health goals. We are all unique and I believe we should feed our bodies with food we enjoy and makes us feel good without feeling restricted. My excitement for learning about nutrition is still prevalent today as I stay updated on the most recent research conducted in this field. In my free time I enjoy baking, going on walks, and taking pictures of my food (@jessicag.rd).

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