How to conquer the BBQ parties!

It is that time of year!  The lovely time of year where the social gathering become more frequent and are often centered around drinks and food.  Personally, I love barbecue parties and look forward to them all year long.  I love the smell of burgers cooking, the warm weather and the long days that make these social outings so enjoyable.  

That being said, if you are trying to keep your diet in check, a barbecue with some friends can turn into a puzzle of how to stay on track and still have fun.  I have a few tips that can help keep your goals in check while still enjoying some time around the grill.

1) Offer to bring the meat!  Burgers, hot dogs and bratwursts are often loaded with fat and calories that you don't need if you are trying to keep your calories down. You could bring along some chicken breast or some turkey burgers to still partake in the festivities and save yourself hundreds of calories in unwanted fat.  I would recommend cutting up some chicken and letting it marinade in a good barbecue sauce for 24 hrs to really lock in the flavor.  If you go the turkey burger route you could use lettuce as the bun and load up on the pickles, onions and mustard for a great meal.

2) Leave some extra room.  If you know you are going to a party, leave some extra room in your overall calorie allowance for the day.  I would also recommend keeping your fat and carbohydrate intake down earlier in the day as you will likely load up on these macronutrients.  This is not ideal to do everyday but can certainly help keep you in check occasionally.

3) Easy on the alcohol.  When you begin to drink mindlessly at a party you can do some serious damage in a hurry.  Plan your alcohol intake ahead of time and make sure it fits into your calories.  Also, try to alternate between alcoholic beverages and non alcoholic beverages to keep your intake down.

4) Skip the sides.  Sides such as macaroni and potato salad, just to name a couple, are typically loaded with fat and calories.  If you do choose to do a side, bring your own so you know exactly what is in it.  I recommend doing some grilled zucchini or sweet potato fries!  

You should be able to enjoy life while dieting but it will take some preparation.  Take the time to plan things out and so you can have the best of both worlds!