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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 March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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