Guide to surviving the summer BBQ & social occasions
This article was written well before COVID-19 swept the world. I had thought about removing it from the course, but we have to believe that being in social situations is in our future and as such you need to know how to deal with them.
As soon as the sun comes out, so does the BBQ and the chilled beers! No one wants to be openly dieting when you’re invited to a BBQ, but instead of treating it as a cheat day, here are some tips to enjoy the occasion without throwing the weeks efforts in the bin.
Think about the food you’re serving – a BBQ can be a high calorie occasion. Burgers, hotdogs and chips won’t excite the tastebuds and will have you reaching for snacks or more alcohol.
So if it’s your BBQ, serve interesting salads alongside your BBQ. Make your own kebabs with chicken, veggies and halloumi. Dips with crunchy vegetables always goes down well too – check out The Lean Cook for some ideas for your BBQ.
Choose smaller plates – this can help you serve yourself less food and no one wants to leave the buffet with a plate piled high with food. Start by putting a smaller variety of foods on your plate and try to resist a 2nd visit. If you choose a larger food selection, chances are you’ll eat more.
Eat to feel satisfied, not stuffed – taking time to chew your food and putting your fork down between mouthfuls will help your gut and brain signal to each other that you’re satisfied. Eat too quickly and the signals get scrambled and you’ll end up eating more that you need or want.
You wouldn’t go grocery shopping hungry, so don’t arrive at the BBQ hungry either – have a protein packed snack while you get ready to stop you munching mindlessly as soon as you arrive.
Stay active – leading an active lifestyle can burn calories and boost your mood. And active life doesn’t mean hours at the gym, a brisk walk can work wonders for you too, so keep your step count going! Keeping one eye on your activity will leave you more inclined to eat better and less likely to reach for calorie heavy snacks.
Re-Gift Re-Gift, Re-Gift – if the occasion you’re celebrating is your birthday and you find that you’ve been gifted more chocolate than Cadburys, check the ‘Best Before’ dates and save them for Christmas re-gifting or better still donate any much appreciated food-based gifts to the local food bank and spread the cheer!
Be the host or hostess with the most – send your guests home with a care parcel of goodies. When you host a BBQ or social gathering, it’s almost impossible to buy and serve only what you need. While it’s to be expected that leftovers will be on the menu your guests won’t mind you sending them home with any leftover food.
Be aware of your wandering hands when you talk near the buffet table – when you’re socialising next to the food table it’s easy to keep nibbling on something while you catch-up with the seasons hot-gossip. Put a few things on your plate and sashay away.
Happy hour extended – most of us drink a little more than usual at this time of year which can really increase your calorie consumption. Try not to drink everyday, remember to drink some water in-between alcoholic beverages, and a few tweaks to your tipple of choice can help make calorie savings:-
- Serve a range of regular and low alcohol beers as some of your guests maybe driving. Below is a button to my review of some delicious low and no alcohol beers on the market.
- Serve large pitchers of home made flavoured waters to keep your guests hydrates in-between drinks and in the summer sun. Experiment with flavours by using my recipe featured in the Hydration article, button below.
- Serve some Mocktails and keep your guests guessing if they’re the real thing!