Summer means AC, no school and picnics full of BBQ-deliciousness. What does BBQ stand for? Good question; but, it's a signal to strap on a bib because you're about to eat something really scrumptious. We had barbecued chicken and ribs for my graduation party with all the fixings. It was a carnivore's paradise. I don't eat meat a lot, but when I do I tend to have portion distortion and channel my inner dinosaur. By the end of my consumption, I had a face full of saucy war paint. I looked like a child who had just eaten her first bowl of Spaghetti-Os, but I was a happy child.
Putting my primal instincts aside, it's difficult to health-consciously load up your plate at a picnic. A portion of meat is usually cut for a small family and the pasta salads and cookie trays always look more appetizing on a check-board table cloth. Put down that turkey leg, King Henry. Here are some tips I use to slim down my BBQ and save some calories:
Avoid The Creamy Dips: Yes, the Spinach-Artichoke dip looks heavenly but healthier choices taste just as good. I stay away from anything dairy-based so I opt for guacamole which is a super food though higher in calories. If you're wary of calories, choose the fresh salsa instead and enjoy as much as you want!
Veggies Are Your Friend: I am a veggie freak, maybe a tad obsessive. I overload my plate with fresh veggies so by the time I get to other sides, I don't have much room. Veggies are filling and low-cal so you'll get stuffed on a low-calorie intake. Nice.
Pick Your Meat Wisely: If available, veggie burgers are a great alternative to beef patties. If you're craving some meat, lean towards items that are grilled versus slathered in sauce. If you just have to have the ribs, just be aware of your portion size and you'll be fine. Try this Lamb Burger with Greek Yogurt Dressing for a healthy alternative!
Go Bun-less: If possible, I go bun-free. If there's large pieces of lettuce, I'll make burger wraps instead. Take a large lettuce leaf, roll in your patty of choice and voila! Need a bun? Try to look for whole-wheat options.
Be Condiment-Conscious: All that mayo and ketchup can add extra calories to your burger. Try raw tomatos or salsa instead of ketchup and mustard over mayo!
Be Dessert Decisive: Desserts are my weak point and I wish I had 8 stomachs just to fill with chocolate, but sadly I don't so I'm very selective when satisfying my sweet tooth. Eye all the desserts and only narrow in on the ones you can't resist and can't have all months of the year-- no need to grab for the boring sugar cookie that you can buy at the store. Try a small slice of your cousin's famous apple pie and enjoy!
Beware Of Brews: If you're going to throw some back, look for lighter options because beer can add extra calories fast. Check out these lower calorie beers when you need a cold one.
Bib up and enjoy!