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6 Sure-Fire Ways to Eat Healthy At A BBQ [Tips From Fitness Experts]

6 Sure-Fire Ways to Eat Healthy At A BBQ [Tips From Fitness Experts]

It’s summertime and BBQs are a summer tradition. We all love having a good time with friends, family, and all of the food that is usually available. The problem is that many of us end up going overboard with our eating. It all looks so yummy, and we tend to forget about all of the healthy eating we’ve been doing for weeks, months or even years.

To help all of us stay on track while having a good time during a BBQ, here are some tips from nutritional experts.

#1: Remember the 80/20 Rule

Jillian Michaels recommends, “Make 80 percent of the food you eat healthy and take 20 percent of your daily calories and make them fun.” We love this idea because it’s easy. For every meal, simply make most of your plate healthy and then have small portion of not-so-healthy food. This is easily achieved at a barbeque. You can load up on some salad, raw veggies and fruits, a hamburger, and then a cupcake. By the time you get to the cupcake, you’ll likely be stuffed and you wouldn’t have gone overboard.

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#2: Calorie Count It

We usually throw out the calorie counting when we go to a BBQ because we figure there’s no point. However, there is a point to it – you’ll eat less. Kim Dolanleto is the Director of Family Health and Wellness for the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and she recommends, “Learn the math behind your weight loss goal. Educate yourself on what portions should look like. Count your calories until you are familiar with them.”

So, pay attention to the number of calories you’re putting on your plate. The average calorie count for a hamburger is 200 calories, and a cup of salad is just 11 calories. Pay attention to the amount of salad dressing you put on the salad keeping it at about a tablespoon and you’re at about 300 calories for all of it. Research the calories for other traditional BBQ foods before you go and have a plan for what you’ll eat, so you can remain within your calorie goal for the day.

#3: Choose Smaller Plates

If possible, we should always choose smaller plates because it will keep us from consuming too many calories. Studies show people who use smaller plates, bowls, and cups will serve themselves 20 to 40% less food. It’s all about how much we put on that plate. A big plate will look bare if we don’t fill it up, but that same bare amount will look like a lot on a smaller plate. So yes, we do eat with our eyes!

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If the BBQ doesn’t have a smaller plate, try a bowl instead. If there is no bowl, you will have to use what is available. Try to keep food in the middle of the plate and envision there isn’t as much space around the edges. When you can remain in control of what you’re perceiving, you’ll have much more success in limiting the amount of food consumed.

#4: Eat Slower

When we eat while doing something such as talking to friends and family, we’re more likely to eat more, not taste and enjoy your food, and suffer from indigestion, according to the University of Minnesota. Eat slowly to enjoy it. After all, one of the best parts of a BBQ is enjoying the good food, but if we’re not paying attention to it, we miss it.

When eating, take a few minutes to really taste the food. Remember why it’s so good and just appreciate being able to taste it. When we eat slower, we often catch the signs of not being hungry anymore faster than when we’re busy while eating. That’s the secret. It’s not about eating until we are full – it’s about eating until we are no longer hungry.

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#5: Start with Vegetables

We need to focus on veggies. If possible, get a plate of veggies first, recommends Elisa Zied, a registered dietician in New York City. Just be sure it’s unadulterated, meaning it’s not coated in high calorie dressings and dips. Raw veggies are the best.

When we stick with veggies as our appetizer, we’ll be less likely to load up some of the more calorie-rich foods such as the potato salad, macaroni salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbeque chicken, and so on and so forth.

#6: Always Choose Mustard

As much as we all love ketchup and mayonnaise, they can be like bombs to our healthy lifestyle. Mayonnaise is loaded with calories and fat, and ketchup has hidden sugar. According to registered dietician Cheryl Forberg, “A tablespoon of Dijon mustard has 18 calories with no added sugar or fat, while mayonnaise has 57 calories and 5 grams of fat.” If we skip the Dijon mustard and choose the yellow mustard instead, we won’t consume any additional calories!

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Eating healthy at a BBQ this summer is possible. Just keep these tips in mind, and you’ll walk away happy and confident that you’ve kept your healthy lifestyle tack while having a great time.

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Kevin Jones

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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