You’ve committed to a weight loss program in Birmingham, AL and you’re doing so well that you’re not about to let a few get-togethers ruin that. But you also don’t want to be miserable watching family and friends enjoy their food while you eat a meal replacement bar. Is there a happy medium where you can enjoy the delicious food but not pack on the pounds? YES! This is your guide for making wise, healthier choices at cookouts in this summer or how to enjoy food and drink in moderation.
All About Moderation
If you allow yourself “cheat days”, a cookout is the perfect time. You’ll be able to fully enjoy your favorite things…in moderation. That’s the key. Try using a smaller plate so that you can still get a little bit of all your favorites, but with smaller portions so you don’t overeat. If you’re indifferent about a specific food, or you’re not sure you’ll like someone’s version of it, leave it off the plate. Only get a small amount of your favorites so you won’t be tempted to finish off the caloric foods that were on your plate “just because”.
Also, it’s important to still eat meals before the cookout or gathering- breakfast if the get-together is at lunch, and both breakfast and lunch if the party is around dinner time. So many of us think “if I don’t eat all day and wait til the party, I can eat more”, but that can easily backfire (and probably will). Not only can it mess up your metabolism and blood sugar, it can also cause you to gorge yourself on too much food or calorie-dense food, leading you to actually consume more calories than you would have in the whole day. Once again, everything in moderation. You don’t have to be miserable, you just have to be smart.
If the event is “bring your own meat”, then choose an option like salmon or do your own kabobs (shrimp would be tasty). Eggplant grills nicely for a vegetarian option or bring skewers filled with cherry tomatoes, pineapple, mushrooms, corn, and bell peppers. Makes our mouth water just thinking about it.
If burgers are on the menu, try putting your burger patty in something other than a bun, like a piece of romaine lettuce with some salsa or guacamole, or just eat it plain dipped in some sauce!
Things to Avoid
If you are really dedicated to not messing up at this cookout, then you’ll need to avoid a few food and drink options.
- “Salads”. We’re obviously not talking about lettuce and spinach here…we mean potato salad and other such “salads” that are loaded with mayonnaise. They are calorie-heavy.
- Regular beers, sodas, and sweet tea. Try choosing light versions of these, or better yet, go for flavored water to avoid unnecessary calories and loads of sugar.
- Chips and dip. Opt for vegetables with hummus (if available or bring your own).
Most cookouts in Birmingham, AL are going to have some kind of alcoholic drinks, but having too many at a cookout (or anytime) can cause setbacks in your weight loss program in 2 ways. One, that’s a lot of additional calories, especially if you’re having carb- and sugar- heavy beers. Two (and more importantly), people tend to start snacking once they’ve had a few drinks. If your logical thinking is getting fuzzy, you’ll find yourself eating too many chips and other snacks that will definitely throw you off your game when you weren’t meaning to. Drink in moderation, whatever that may look like for you. Or choose healthier drink options that aren’t loaded with carbs and sugars.
What about dessert?!?
Can you even go to a get-together and not eat dessert? Well, maybe if you’re not a sweets person. But if you can’t resist a good sweet treat to finish off your meal, here are some yummy summer suggestions:
- FRUIT! Some fresh strawberries with a touch of whipped cream is a refreshing way to eat dessert. Watermelon, blueberries, blackberries, and cantaloupe are tasty too.
- Sorbet is a good alternative to ice cream!
- Pick one dessert option- one small cookie, or one small piece of pie. Better yet, find a friend and ask them to split it with you!
What if you mess up or give in?
Good news- one meal won’t ruin you forever. Hop right back on the horse the next day, get your head back in the game, and get back on track! Talk with your Weigh to Wellness team and maybe even use our Healthy Foods and Beverages to help you get back on track and still have something good to eat and drink! If you’re looking for a weight loss program here in Birmingham, AL, it’s time to call us here at Weigh to Wellness! We can help jumpstart your weight loss, get you back on track, or even maintain where you currently are! Give us a call at (205) 994-2393.