- Plan ahead
Think about what will be served and decide in advance what you plan to have, then stick to your plan. This is almost like a menu in your mind. If you do not know exactly and do not feel comfortable asking, you can plan general categories such as a plate of vegetables, one lean protein, OR half of a higher fat protein such as a hot dog or red meat.
- Portion your plate
Your plate should have lots of salad or vegetables, one protein or a combination of two (half a burger and a small piece of grilled chicken), and a small amount of starch such as rice or a potato. Try to avoid buns unless it is daytime and they are whole wheat. PAS now makes a delicious thin bun that is whole wheat and only 100 calories.
- Think time of day
Bread or buns are better eaten earlier in the day versus late at night. If the BBQ is taking place in the afternoon, it’s ok to have one bun (see suggestion in the above tip). However, if it’s in the evening then stick to a potato or rice, or skip your starch. An alternative to a starch can be an ear of corn or some grilled butternut squash since they both have a higher starch content than regular vegetables.
- Great items to grill
Peppers, large mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes… These all taste great and look great on the grill. Make sure to include these on your menu. There is no need for oil. Use PAM spray and lots of spices.
- Don’t forget the drinks menu
Make delicious, ice-cold lemonade using crystal light or even just fresh lemon and sweetener. You can have some ice-cold diet soda in moderation as well. It is best to skip the beer unless you have one light beer as your treat.
- Eat regularly throughout the day
Many people mistakenly believe that they should under-eat before a party or an event. This will only backfire as your blood sugar will drop and you will be too hungry. Instead, eat regularly throughout the day so that you arrive with steady blood sugar and a calm appetite.
Drink 2 cups of water right before you go or start. This will fill you up and eliminate any fake hunger which was really just thirst.
- Stay busy!
Never sit at a table for hours. Help to make a salad or clear the table. Even switching your seat or going to make a call are good distractions.
- Sit down!
I know, I just said don’t sit but I meant don’t sit for too long. At a BBQ many people eat standing up so it’s done quickly and is not as enjoyable as it should be. Make sure to sit down and use a fork and a knife to slow down your eating.
- No leftovers
If the BBQ is at your house or bungalow, send your guests with goody bags to take everything home. If you’re a guest, politely decline to be the one taking things home.
Popular BBQ items and their calorie content:
Hamburger bun or hot dog bun: 120 calories, 18 grams carbs
Hamburger patty on a bun: 329 calories, 15 grams fat
Veggie burger on a bun: 230 calories, 7 grams fat
Turkey burger on a bun: 270 calories, 9 grams fat
Beef hot dog on a bun: 270 calories, 15 grams fat
Barbecue chicken breast (6 oz.) 280 calories, 3.5 grams fat
I hope you find these tips helpful and enjoy the BBQ season without going off track!