5 Tips for Making Healthier Choices at Summer BBQs

 Photo by  Myles Tan  on  Unsplash

Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash

Summer is a wonderful time for getting outside and being active. But when it comes to eating healthy, there can be an awful lot of temptation — especially with summer holidays and BBQs. By following the tips below, you can have fun and feel good about your choices at the same time.

1. Bring a Healthy Dish to Pass
This is the best way to advocate for your own food choices. Get in touch with the host and ask if there is anything they’d like you to bring. Put a healthy twist on standby classics, like a vinegar-based coleslaw or guacamole and sliced veggies. Fresh fruit (think Michigan cherries in the summer!) is another great option, especially if you want alternatives for dessert.

2. Skip Sugar-Laden BeveragesSoda, alcohol, and fruit punch can all leave you with a nasty sugar hangover (or a real hangover). Stay refreshed with healthier options like naturally flavored sparkling water or kombucha. I love to take Unity Vibration kombucha to gatherings for a fun beverage that packs a probiotic punch. If you do want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, follow it up with 1-2 glasses of water, and choose sugar-free options, like a vodka soda with lime.

3. Scope out Real FoodPrioritizing protein and vegetables will help you stay satiated and nourished, and it will ward off bloating and discomfort. Scan for options like grilled meats, raw or cooked veggies, and fruits. Avoid processed, packaged foods, like hamburger buns, chips, and store-bought desserts. Aim to create a plate that’s a healthy combination of protein (think a burger patty), healthy fat (a nice dollop of guacamole), and carbohydrates (like a baked potato and raw veggies). This will keep you satiated and prevent your blood sugar from dipping, which will send you straight for the dessert table!

4. Pack Some Simple SnacksIf you have to attend a gathering where you’re really unsure of what the food choices will be — and you don’t feel comfortable bringing a dish — it’s always a good idea to pack a few healthy snacks. I love Chomps Sticks and Epic Bars for clean protein options. An apple with Justin’s Almond butter is another healthy, satisfying snack. Having one or two backup options in your purse or car can put your mind at ease, especially if you have food sensitivities or allergies.

5. Relax and Enjoy YourselfEven if you can’t make the healthiest choices at your next BBQ, relax and enjoy yourself! Stressing too much about what you’re eating can be counterproductive, as stress interferes with the process of digestion. Laugh, enjoy time with friends, and soak up the sun. Progress (not perfection!) is always the best thing to aim for.

Holly Higgins in a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Whole30 Certified Coach specializing in nutrition for mental health. She lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan with her husband and backyard chickens, but works with clients around the world. Get in touch and learn more about her work at http://www.hollyfisherhiggins.com.

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