Everyone knows that Fourth of July cookouts are filled with delicious yummy treats like cupcakes, alcohol, greasy burgers, hotdogs, pulled bbq, fried chicken and basically any other American food you can think of. That being said, one could imagine how easy it would be to wreck that beach body you’ve worked so hard for if you’re not careful.The holidays are for celebrating and are meant to be enjoyed, but you don’t have to sacrifice your health or beach body every time you attend a cookout. Luckily, it’s still possible to enjoy your Fourth of July and still feel/look great! Here are some tips to help you eat right this weekend:
Use whole wheat buns: Filling up on high glycemic index foods like potato chips, ice cream, sodas and full-calorie beers spikes insulin and opens the floodgates for fat storage. Most guys don’t realize that insulin, not testosterone, is the key hormone in the body. It determines your rate of aging, level of inflammation and whether your body is in a fat storage or burning mode. White bread causes a spike in your insulin and makes your body store fat. Switching white bread for whole wheat, rye, or sourdough buns can keep the fat at bay and help control insulin.
Grill lean meats: Lowering your fat content can decrease your overall calorie intake. Fewer calories equals less barbecue belly. Eating grilled meats, like the ones your buddies serve at cookouts, is O.K. as long as you remove excess fat and watch how and what they’re grilled with. Most cookouts offer a variety of meats, so choose the leanest cuts of beef, chicken and pork.
Practice portion control: There are a variety of strategies for cutting back at the grill. For example, eat 1/4-lb. burgers (made with extra-lean ground sirloin) instead of 1/3- or 1/2-lb. patties, or split a steak with your friend.
Load up on grilled veggies: Fill half your plate with veggies so as to avoid overdoing it on the higher-calorie options. The fiber will help to fill you and if you want seconds, be sure to fill your plate the same way.
Don’t skip meals to try to “save” calories for later: this will lead to overeating and lead you to make poor choices due to hunger and low blood sugar
Eat slowly and mindfully: People who eat more slowly eat fewer calories over the course of a meal. Cookouts are a perfect opportunity to pace yourself as you mix and mingle with friends and family. The more you’re chatting, the less you’re eating.
Think before you drink: There is a place for alcohol in a healthy lifestyle, but making smart choices can be the difference between losing or gaining weight (not to mention your self-control). One sugary margarita can have 600-800 calories. That means 3 margaritas is more food than you should be consuming in an entire day. Is that really worth it? Stick with wine or beer, drink plenty of water and remember to pace yourself. Small tricks can save you hundreds and potentially thousands of wasted calories that you will never notice or miss. Why sacrifice a good time when you can just upgrade your healthstyle?
Have a safe and fun 4th of July!