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Are you afraid of the family BBQ?

Written by Amber Bignell

Published on Jul 3rd, 2016

15 tips to raise the fun factor without dashing your diet

It’s healthy to spend time laughing with friends and family, but those same celebratory gatherings can deal a death knell to your diet. Ears of corn slathered in butter, tubs of greasy fried chicken, sugar-packed sodas and yeasty beers (bloat, anyone?) can easily turn a single meal into a day’s worth of calories.

Don’t starve all day so you can enjoy your gathering. Instead, pick your favorite from the following 15 tips from nutritionist Stephanie Nelson Cunningham and enjoy the food and the company, while staying slim and healthy.

1. Take your I-CONTROL an hour before the party. You won’t arrive ravenous and the chip bowl won’t call out to you the moment you arrive.

2. Most BBQs are carb-heavy events, take your I-BLOCK 30 minutes before the party so it’s already in your system and able to block carbs from the first bite.

3. Load up on fruits and veggies first. Fresh and raw are the most nutritious and will give your mouth the satisfaction (and increased satiety) of chewing.

4. Stay hydrated! You’ll be less ravenous, and you’ll keep your digestion working properly.

5. If you only see creamy, heavy dressings, make your own quick salad dressing with a splash of oil and vinegar, some pepper and lemon juice, and even a bit of mashed avocado or diced tomatoes. Or if you’re willing to bring your own, click here to stir up all kinds of deliciousness before you go.

6. Skip the burger bun, load up with veggies and eat with a fork. Most buns are nutritional zeros, delivering only empty carbs.

7. Avocado is much better for you than mayo; swap them whenever you can. 

8. Avoid commercial potato salad and other “creamy” salads, which tend to be very high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and chemicals. If they are home-made, tread lightly, the same facts may hold true.

9. Make your contribution to the table a healthy one, so that you are satiated. I always bring a flavorful dish that I know I can eat, so I won’t load up on junk. Quinoa and kale salads work well, and usually are happily received by others stay on track with their healthy lifestyle. You may inspire someone else by having great-tasting, healthy food.

10. Load your plate rather than “grazing” on the food. You’ll actually eat less!

11. Trade sugary drinks for a mocktail: mineral water with a splash of juice and fresh lime with either basil or mint. Very refreshing and low in sugar, or click here for additional mocktail recipes.

12. Imbibe in alcoholic drinks? Simple rotate water with each cocktail or glass of wine and slash calories in half!

13. Skip the greasy chips and get your salt fix in with dill pickles.

14. If you’ve loaded up your plate with healthy food, go ahead and indulge in a little dessert, just keep it small. Fresh berries are the best pick, but a small serving of your favorite sweet treat is fine for special occasions.

15. If you realize you’ve overdone it, stop eating and start drinking more water. Now’s the time for I-REMOVE. It’ll bind to the fats in the foods you just ate, making the molecules too large to be absorbed, so they’ll pass through your digestive system and you’ll still be on track the next day, without guilt, which only perpetuates a negative cycle.

    So here’s to family, friends and a healthy 4th of July!