Summer brings warmer and hotter weather, longer days, bright sunshine and more time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Whether you are hosting a backyard cookout, enjoying a weekend a way at the lake or getting ready for the family camping vacation you can still eat healthy. Here are some cookout tips to help you enjoy your summer.
1. Bring a healthy potluck dish! This will assure you'll be able to eat something nutritious, no matter how decadent all the other offerings are.
2. Pay attention to portions. Check out these great tips to help you.
A tennis ball or baseball = about 1 cup (or use your clenched fist as a rough estimate). This measure is useful for sides like potato, pasta and bean salads. If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, aim for 1 cup total of these starchy side dishes.
Your cell phone or a deck of cards is approximately 3 ounces meat. Try this tip when loading your plate with steak, chicken and fish.
Your thumb equals approximately 1 tablespoon. This is a great measure for salad dressings, condiments and spreads. Most full-fat salad dressings have 50 to 100 calories per tablespoon (creamy ones fall toward the higher end); mayo (at 100 calories per tablespoon). Choose reduced-fat varieties, which usually have half the calories, whenever you can.
3. Eat your vegetables first! Eat loads of green salad and remember the thumb rule, your thumb = one tablespoon of dressing. If you are looking for more of a crunch, substitute the chips with crudités. Just don't forget to go easy on the dips!
4. Enjoy a little lean protein. Studies show that, gram for gram, lean proteins help you to feel fuller than carbohydrates or fats, so enjoy a little bit of what’s grilling: a lean-beef burger, a piece of chicken ) or fish, some tofu. Have your cell phone handy to confirm the 3oz rule.
5. Don't go crazy with starchy carbs. You might love your mom's potato salad, but go easy. Try to limit yourself to 1 cup of side dishes, such as potato, pasta and those delicious bean salads. Don't know what a cup size looks like - visualize a tennis ball!
6. Eat your favorite foods with good sense! Sure, you can go for the cheeseburger, but skip the bun and load your plate with green salad, and fruit for the sides. Or another option choose grilled chicken, fish or tofu and spend your starch serving with a cup of Mom's mouthwatering potato salad. However, if it is dessert you are craving skip the potato salad, skip the buns and indulge. It is all about choosing wisely and within in reason.
7. Get up and move! Start tossing a ball with the kids. Rally the adults to play horseshoes or some other outdoor game. It will give you the opportunity to get away from the salsa and chips and enjoy some exercise.