Memorial Day, or any summer get together Trade In & Trade Up Tips to stay on Track!
Think before you drink, and that goes for both alcohol and juices. In a perfect world there would be no inviting soda drinks to think about. No artificial juices and high sugary drinks, and no ‘fake’ fruits or ‘fake’ all natural juices. Unfortunately these drinks not only exist, but they are also extremely habit forming. During social events and large BBQ’s like this Memorial day, it is all too easy to grab a cup of coca cola or sprite- but don’t! Avoid even the diet stuff. You can severally change your health and weight by simply eliminating everything except water, tea and limited coffee from your drinking list.
For BBQ’s and social events or celebrations, wine, sake and alcohol with out soda of juice (no tonic either) is okay. Try to flavor your vodka, gin, rum or tequila with regular soda and natural fruits like lemon, mint, berries and orange peel. Remember alcohol is high in sugar and adding a sugar packed cordial on top will only triple the calories- AVOID all mixers, sodas and juices.
Adapt the 25/75 BBQ Rule
Instead of moping around and avoiding everything you love about BBQ try this basic change; simply double the vegetables and half the complex carbohydrates on your plate. We call this the 25/75 rule. Try to have 75% veggies (the colorful and green stuff) and 25% complex carbs like potatoes on your plate. If you can take it a step further go for the all protein (like meat, lean chicken from the grill) and veggies. Vegetables have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancers and diabetes. They also take more energy to burn and have far less calories then most other foods, plus their fiber will help keep you full and fully satisfied.
Learn to Read Labels
Sodium, fat, carbohydrates and most overlooked- serving size. If you learn to read your labels you can save yourself ten to fifteen pounds of weight gain in the course of a year! At a BBQ, by buying the right foods you can save yourself bloating, indigestion and an added few pounds.
- Low Sodium (that goes for all canned foods, and hot dogs)
- All natural / organic (especially ketchup, BBQ sauce and meats)
- Lean (all meats)
- Skinless (chicken)
- No sugar added (forget sugar free, and look for the no sugar added label instead)
- Whole Grain (still look at the sugars on the label and go for the one with the least)
- Ketchups, dips, sauces (should also be all natural and pay attention to sugar)
- Serving size: 30 calories might be per table spoon- make sure to look at serving size! then do the math.
- Visit the produce isle and buy up all the colorful veggies – No canned veggies- go all natural & raw!
Eat protein instead of the carbs!
What if I said you can have another burger, or more chicken, so long as you don’t have the bun. At BBQ’s try to avoid all the sugary hamburger and hot dog buns. Stay away from macaroni and cheese or macaroni salads. Aim to keep it clean and tasty with proteins like chicken, meat and fish and vegetables – this way you can eat more of the good stuff!
Remember, your body depends on protein-rich foods to help it build muscle and replenish every cell in your body. That includes all of the organs, your bones, muscles, nails, skin and hair and of course, your performance on the training floor. Plus protein will keep you satisfied longer and eating the right proteins will help lower your glycemic levels in the day and help burn more calories throughout the day. Just stick to all natural, lean & skinless proteins- and enjoy!
Being spontaneous is great in many areas of life- but not in your daily nutrition. The only way to succeed in attaining healthy body composition is by planning out your meals as best you can, even when going to a party of a BBQ. Do not depend for your host to have all of the healthiest options available for you, BRING THEM! The bigger the get together the more likely the food quality might suffer. There are lots of people to feed and lots of different tastes to accommodate, so often the host will buy larger amounts of the bad stuff like chips, imitation proteins and fatty dips. Starving yourself, or leaving your dinners and lunches to pure chance is not healthy, satisfying or fun. Instead bring the good stuff with you. Buy all natural low sodium hot dogs and bring the home made veggie dip you trust along with a bag full of green stuff! Plan for success, don’t wish and hope for it! When in doubt, make your own dishes (like the BBQ sauce recipes we have on this blog).
It’s always great to have a goal and a plan. But remember diets are designed to fail you simply because they are a temporary plans full or crazy restrictions. Instead, make a lifestyle choice to adapt a guideline of eating that fits your lifestyle and goals. Paleo, Slow Carb, Mediterranean and Clean eating lifestyle only work if they are adapted as such. When you go to a BBQ or get together this summer DO NOT “take a day off” from your nutrition lifestyle. Simply adapt the foods served at the get together to fit your new and healthy nutrition lifestyle. *** this does not mean that you can not have pie or a burger- just adapt everything else to clean eating, and make your one indulgent meal a small exception that fits into your lifestyle as an “occasional’ treat. Do not treat your burger as a ‘screw up” if you do… more screw ups will shortly follow!
Green Side dishes, green salads, green tea and even seaweed!
Plant foods derive green pigments from chlorophyll. And according to many studies, chlorophyll contains antioxidant properties, which may protect cells in your body from destructive molecules called free radicals. Plus they are super high in fiber so they fill you up! Buy green stuff, learn to make awesome dishes with it, like stuffed peppers, green beans and anything else that comes to mind- and eat up!