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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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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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