The summer is a fine time for outdoor events and bbq’s. There are usually limited healthy options at these bbq’s unless you bring your own food, but that is not always an option. Here are some of my tips for choosing healthy bbq options and finding balance in your choices.
Healthy eating is really a choice and it is also different based on each persons opinion. My healthy eating is not going to be the same as anyone else’s, although I do want others to choose healthier more often than not. BBQ’s are notorious for having unhealthy options. Beef burgers, hotdogs, veggie burgers, ‘white’ rolls, potato chips, Doritos, and lots of cupcakes, brownies or cake to name a few. And then the drinks. It can be overwhelming to choose, but also hard not to choose one of everything!
How do you choose healthy bbq options?
- Bring your own made mixed green salad – at least then you have the healthy greens, antioxidants, etc counteract some of the harms of the things you were eating.
You can choose a baby kale/chard/spinach mix and add romaine, shredded cabbage, pumpkin seeds and craisins, then add your own dressing. This is always a hit when I take it to a bbq or a potluck event.
- Bring your own dessert – Maybe you make the sweet potato brownies instead of regular ones. Bring a fruit salad with mint leaves.
Or read point no 5 about moderation.
- Balance the meals as best you can–
Do have your protein off the grill, skip the bun, have some potato chips (bring sweet potato chips??) and half your plate with greens.
Do the best you can. If they have no greens, then make an effort to get them in your next meal! This is also the reason to bring your salad like in no. 1!
- Don’t be so strict you cannot enjoy the meal with everyone else!
I do have a hotdog once in awhile. Yes, I know they have additives galore, but you know, off the grill….they do taste good. Yes, I probably need to take a picture as most of you won’t believe me!
But if you are so strict, you will either go hungry, avoid the event or have to bring you own stash of food – which is recommended if you have food sensitivities. I had to do this for a few years when I had some serious GI issues. Rather than have the host/hostess make accommodations for my sensitivities, I asked if I could bring my own – and then enough for others too.
- Account for desserts and alcohol!
You know you will have it, so keep that in mind when you are trying to find a balance in the meals. Alcohol is basically sugar. Desserts we already know they are sugar. If you intend of drinking beer and having a big piece of cake, then try to totally avoid the chips and bread in the main meal.
Summers are meant to be enjoyed especially bbq events with friends and family. You can choose healthier. Hopefully these tips will help make healthier bbq options easier to implement. It need not be that complicated.
If you have tip you want to share, please share it below in the comments.
If you have trouble finding healthier options not just at events, maybe a nutrition review would be helpful to help incorporate healthier one step at a time.