The 4th of July BBQ! It’s a few days away and I can already smell the sweet aroma of grilled food. To avoid excessive calorie intake and weight gain during this celebratory holiday, here are a few nutritional and fitness tips:
- Have a nutritious breakfast. I usually do steel cut oatmeal. It’s high in fiber, which assist with satiety (causes the body to feel full). Eating breakfast keeps you from feeling hungry before your BBQ meal. Hunger can slow metabolism, cause the body to store fat, and increase the risk of overeating.
- Eat 1-2 “Danger Zone” snacks just before you eat your BBQ meal. For example, eat fruit, a handful of popcorn, or dark chocolate. All assist in causing the body to feel full before your meal.
- 1-2 eight ounce glasses of water just before your BBQ meal. This will trick your body into feeling full and can reduce your risk of overeating.
- Eat slowly. Take a “meal halftime”: Halfway through the meal, put your fork/spoon down for a few seconds, then resume eating slowly. Following your meal and dessert, don’t immediately go for seconds. Take a 20-minute “after meal break”. Don’t eat anything for at least 20-minutes, which allows time for your stomach to tell your brain “Hey, we are full down here!”. These steps can assist the body in feeling full and can reduce the risk of overeating. You may want to take your 20-minute “after meal break” away from the BBQ buffet table!
- Get up and move after your meal. Go for a 10-min walk following your meal. Walk around your house, up/down the stairs, and/or walk around your neighborhood. Alternatively, you can play with the kids. Playing with them can burn loads of calories.
One final health tip. When grilling, avoid charring meat. Charred meat has been associated with certain health risk. Instead, cover your grill with aluminum foil and poke holes in it so you are able to maintain the BBQ flavor without charring. You can also cut off the charred portion of meat.
Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy 4th of July Holiday!