Saturday, May 28, 2011

How To Survive Cookouts

Monday is Memorial Day, but is Saturday. The day when all the cookouts start. And this typically means that your diet leans more toward "hellish" than "healthy." Am I right? Friends gather with delicious dishes, cold beverages flow, the desserts look simply outrageous...I say party hard. But don't party wrong. If you follow these simple words of advice, you can party just right. In other words, you can survive every cookout you've been invited to.

1) Grab a plate, then get away from the food. To hang out by the table of snacks is to, well...snack. Probably more than you need to. So use those cute plates your host or hostess set out and pile them with just the right amount of food, tell yourself it's a meal, then walk away. Don't go back.

2) Stick with low-cal foods. Grilled chicken and corn, minus the butter. Salads without the creamy dressing. Fruit without the whipped cream. Think about the three most important aspects of every meal: whole carbohydrates, proteins, acceptable fats and (to be more specific) fruits and veggies. Skip out on the processed foods. You know what those are.

3) Bring a dish. That way, you know at least one thing on the menu will fit into your diet.

4) Watch what you drink. Pick the low-carb beer if you must. Go for mixed drinks with a clear base. Think sparkling water, flavored vodka and some fruit. And certainly, without a doubt, alternate between glasses of iced water. We pack more calorie punches per glass than we might even realize—this is especially true if you're a soda pop drinker.

5) Get involved. Don't just plop yourself in a picnic chair and call it good. Participate in that pickup game of volleyball or baseball. Run around with all the kids and work up a sweat. You'll get your workout in without having to lift a weight. And you'll have some mad fun along the way.

6) Start your day with a healthy breakfast. That way, you won't be starving by the time you get to the party. Or be sure to eat both breakfast and lunch if you haven't hit the party by the time lunch rolls around. Remember, even if the party starts at 2:00PM, it'll probably just be snacks and stuff before the real meal hits. So if you prep by eating your lunch, you won't be as prone to the snack bar itself.

Now, go. Get your party on. And remember:

Words to live by when you're faced with all that delicious food this weekend. (Man, my calendar has been on a roll lately.) If you're wondering who Gita Bellin is, well...that makes two of us.

And now I'm off to yoga. Some calm before this weekend's storm of activity.

Question: How are you taking advantage of this long weekend? Attending any parties?

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