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5 Tips for Navigating Summer Barbecues while Dieting (with video!)

The sun is shining, the temperature is warmer, the days are longer… And suddenly you’re faced with that causal, relaxed sense of summer. Cocktails are flowing and BBQs seem to be every weekend — a recipe for disaster to your waist line! Talk about a challenge for that beach body you’re working so hard towards! ☺

Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff of summer, and all the challenges that come with it! How can you reign it in? We at the iDiet have found that following these 5 simple tips can make a world of difference!

1. Have a PLAN!
If for example, you’re invited to a BBQ from 1-5 on a Saturday, don’t walk in blind! Start your day with a great bowl of High Fiber Cereal, (link to our HFC blog?) because fiber will help stave off any excess hunger you’ll experience by being around food for all those hours! If you can, even have a normal, healthy lunch at home before heading to the BBQ, or another bowl of fiber so you are really fiber-full ☺ Perhaps decide to arrive late and leave early, and to treat the time when you are at the BBQ as one meal and one snack, but not as a food free-for-all. If you don’t take the time to PLAN ahead for what the day will look like, you leave it all to chance and chances are, you’ll overindulge!

2. Make RULES about tempting items (chips, desserts, etc)!
There are so many foods available at BBQs — chips, brownies, pasta and potato salads, etc… the list goes on and on! If you choose to indulge in all of them, you will absolutely feel heavier by the time you leave (and the scale will confirm the next morning!) ☺ The trick is to pick your poison, and avoid the rest! The best way to do this is to make a set of rules for yourself before you even arrive. Tell yourself that you can have a brownie or some chips, but not both. And to make up, eat your burger or hot dog without a bun to avoid too many non-fibrous carbs. Give yourself a set of guidelines that you can realistically follow, and then follow them. ☺

3. Bring your FIBER!
Generally speaking, there will never be enough fiber at a BBQ to keep you full and satisfied for the duration. So, what can do you do? Have something high in fiber before you arrive at the BBQ, but also bring your own recipes and foods that you know are delicious, but also full of protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied. The iDiet has many recipes that are great for BBQing — like our coleslaw, three-bean salad, and even pork tenderloin! And with good tasting low calorie options like Oscar Mayer Extra Lean Franks and Boca Burger veggie patties to take along, you can have all the flavors of summer without overeating at all. When you arrive with food in hand that you know you can enjoy without negatively impacting your weight, you can relax and breathe a little easier!

4. LIMIT the alcohol! (if you choose to drink at all)
Notice, we did not say omit, but rather LIMIT, which is a key distinction for those who like a drink now and then. Summer is a time of free-flowing cocktails, which are often calorie laden…and then comes the disinhibition from the alcohol that results in throwing all your well-made plans and rules out the window! So there are alternative ways to go here. If you are on a roll with your weight loss, just skip the drinks and tell yourself that you can enjoy them another time. If your goal is to make smart choices at the BBQ and maintain your weight (rather than focus on weight loss), the best strategy here is to give yourself a realistic goal that will not leave you feeling deprived, but won’t open up the floodgates either. Tell yourself you can have two cocktails in addition to your planned food (no splurges!) and that you will have a non-alcoholic beverage in between the cocktails to space them out. Importantly, the kind of alcohol you choose is also going to really matter here. While seeking something refreshing in the hot weather, why not consider a flavored seltzer and flavored vodka? A vodka-soda of this style can be as low as 70 calories and can also help to avoid the unpleasant side effects of alcohol (the soda water is hydrating after all!) ☺

5. FOCUS on the fun not the food!
Why are you going to the BBQ in the first place? Probably, it’s not JUST because of the food being offered and in reality, more so the company. So why not try to really put your efforts into spending time talking and catching up with friends and family you haven’t seen in a while instead of hovering around the food table? Enjoy the season for what it has to offer and remember that spending time talking to an old friend is always going to make you feel better than having one more handful of chips.
If you can plan, follow your rules, bring your fiber, limit the alcohol, and focus on the fun this season, you’ll be able to keep your weight in control and have a truly fantastic summer!

Fiberfully Yours,
Jennelle Yopchick, PhD
with Dr Susan Roberts and The iDiet Team

Bonus video! Here’s a great juicy, flavorful, diet-friendly hamburger recipe.

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