Memorial Day is right around the corner, which means so are summertime cookouts. While the summer months are a great time to relax and enjoy seasonal celebrations, many people worry about having trouble sticking to their healthy eating goals. One of the things I work on with my clients, is how to stay on track with healthy habits without missing out on their favorite summer foods and drinks.
Rather than trying to white-knuckle it and say “no” to what you crave, a few small tweaks can help you enjoy a well balanced meal and make room for a treat. Here are the top tips I share with my clients:
- Don’t show up starving. By arriving to the cookout satiated, you’ll be less inclined to overdo it on unhealthy foods. That means no skipping meals to “save” calories. Fill up on protein-rich foods like nuts, yogurt or eggs, or enjoy a green smoothie earlier in the day.
- Eat only what you love. Fill your plate only with the foods you truly want to eat, rather than feeling obligated to load up on foods that you wouldn’t normally choose simply because they’re in front of you.
- Bring a colorful side to share. Do everyone a solid and bring a salad, grilled veggies (check out some of my favorite recipes below) or a fruit platter.
- Stop when you’re satisfied. Check in with yourself about whether you’re satisfied so that you don’t overdo.
- Balance alcohol with water or seltzer. If you’re consuming alcohol, stick to one or two, and alternate alcoholic beverages with water. If flat water doesn’t mesh with your cookout vibe, enjoy a seltzer or club soda – you can even fancy it up with lemon or lime.
Hosting a cookout? Keep in mind that they don’t have to be filled with the typical BBQ foods. In fact, some of my favorite cookout-friendly meals include the Easiest Burger Salad, which is a healthy adaptation of the classic burger, this tasty and creative Hummus-Marinated Chicken, nutrient-rich Grilled Lamb Kabobs, and one of my favorite meal prep staples, the Yogurt-Marinated Chicken (which is great if you’re not using a grill and want to bake something special instead). When adding greens to any cookout, I really enjoy making these easy sides: the Grill Pan Asparagus, Anti-Inflammatory Cauliflower Rice, and Simple summer squash sauté.
Want more little hacks to simplify your life? In my upcoming guide, The Little Book of Game-Changers: 50 Healthy Habits For Managing Stress & Anxiety (Viva Editions) I offer lots of little life hacks to streamline your routine and upgrade your quality of life. It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon. You can grab your copy here.