Not only does Memorial Day kick off the summer season, it also kicks off the barbecue season. But, does being invited to a summer barbecue give you the following thoughts?
“Oh great, I’m not going to enjoy it because nothing they have there will be on my diet.”
“I’m going to be miserable because everyone else will be drinking and eating whatever they want and I have to watch what I eat. It’s not fair.”
“Maybe I can just do the liquid diet and just have a few drinks. Yeah, that’ll work!”
“I’m not going to eat anything because I’m already fat and everyone will notice.”
I’ve actually had all of those thoughts at one time or another, but I’m happy to say that it was a long time ago. Now when I go to a summer barbecue or party I have a great time, enjoy the food and never feel deprived or guilty afterward. You can too if you follow these 5 simple steps.
5 Simple Steps to Surviving Summer Barbecues
1) NEVER go hungry. Just like going grocery shopping when you are hungry is a recipe for disaster, so is going to a barbecue or party. Now you might be thinking, “Of course I’m going to go hungry because if I eat now, I’ll be full and miss out on the opportunity to eat all of the good food at the barbecue.” First of all, are they really going to have healthy, nutritious food there? If yes, then you have my blessings to go hungry. If not, then you really aren’t missing anything and if you go hungry, you will eat way more than you want to and feel bad about it later. Trust me, don’t do it! Now, I don’t recommend eating a 3 course dinner and stuffing yourself before you go. A nice light snack like one or two pieces of fruit with some nuts, or a small sandwich should be plenty. That way you can just taste a few things at the barbecue without losing control.
2) Bring your own dish. I will usually bring a dish wherever I go, and besides knowing that I will have something to eat, the host/hostess of the party is usually very appreciative. If you think that dessert time will be problematic for you because you will really want to indulge, then bring a healthy dessert. Here is one easy to make entree and one delicious dessert recipe that I’ve used myself.
Quinoa-tabouleh from Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Date and Puffed Rice Balls from Choosing Raw
3) Scope out the Veggies. Besides your own dish, look around and find the fruit or veggies. Most barbecues and parties will have some sort of veggie or fruit plate. And if you are really lucky, they might be grilling up some veggies on a skewer, a veggie burger, or some corn. If you pair your dish with a salad, fruit or veggies then you will have a nice meal and won’t feel deprived.
4. Drink lots of water. It will help to keep you full and especially if it’s hot, you will want to keep hydrated so that you won’t mistake thirst signals for hunger ones. Plus, having a bottle of water in your hands will make it less likely that you will reach for other alcoholic beverages. If you decide that you will feel too deprived without a drink, then keep it to one and enjoy it.
5. Keep yourself around positive people. We have all been at a party where we get stuck talking to someone that is just an all around negative person or whom we just don’t enjoy their company. Keep away from those people at all costs. You can say “hello” and engage in a few minutes of small talk, but if you stick around too long, you will find that they have depleted your energy and you might end up head first in the ice cream container. Don’t end up head first in the ice cream container. If you find yourself stuck talking with an energy zapper, just politely excuse yourself. Or do what Jerry and Elaine did in one episode of Seinfeld and come up with a signal to get the other person out of the conversation!
The most important thing to keep in mind is to really enjoy yourself. Be in the moment and enjoy the summer weather and just being able to spend time with friends and family. You will end up having a great time and instead of feeling stuffed or depressed later on, you will have energy to last well into the night! Or if you are anything like me, will enjoy an early good night’s sleep.
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