Written By Elsie Velazquez Cert. Personal Trainer Prescription Fitness

Let’s face it, while holidays are for celebrating and are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, we can sometimes get carried away with food and drinks.  What starts off as a good time can end up making us feel defeated and/or disappointed in ourselves.  Well, that does not have to be the case at all.  There are ways to have all the fun without the guilt of derailing your health and fitness goals.  Whether you are attending a BBQ or actually hosting one, I am going to provide tips on how to shave off calories and tips on how to ignite some as well!

Tip #1…Use small plates

Research clearly shows that people who choose smaller plates and utensils eat less without even noticing.

Tip #2…Eat slowly

People who eat more slowly eat fewer calories over the course of a meal. BBQs are actually a great opportunity to pace yourself because you are mingling with friends and family. The more you’re chatting, the less you’re eating.

Tip #3…Eat healthiest foods first

Salads and are a great place to start because watery vegetables slow digestion and have very few calories – just watch the dressing. Veggie trays are awesome too as long as you are mindful of how much dip you are using.

Tip #4…Skip the chips, crackers and bread

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a BBQ that did not have these items.  Keep in mind that refined carbohydrates are the worst things you can eat because they offer little satisfaction, loads of calories and dangerous insulin spikes.

You don’t have to eat your burger without a bun, but pass on the pointless chips and other snacks that offer no health benefits.

Tip #5…Keep dessert small

I know, I know…easier said than done!  I just want to reiterate, sugar and refined carbohydrates are the most dangerous foods. You don’t have to pass on dessert completely, but keep your portion sizes in check.  Also, consider fruit as your desert.  Watermelon is a great choice if it is offered.

Tip #6…Think before you drink

This is one area where making smart choices can be the difference between losing or gaining weight. One sugary margarita can have 600-800 calories! Ask yourself if it is really worth it.

Soda is another sugary, calorie loaded option you should avoid.  Reach for water – it does a body good.

Tip #7…Choose meats wisely

I know that hot dogs and burgers are usually a BBQ favorite but if chicken is offered, you are better off reaching for that.

Tip #8…Get up and move!!!

Group games are a great way to get people moving while having fun!  Here is a small list of great BBQ activities:

  • Volleyball
  • Badminton
  • Frisbee
  • Cornhole
  • Dancing – there is almost always music at a BBQ
  • Standing – burns more calories than sitting
  • Water balloon fight

There you have it.  While Fourth of July is a holiday, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your health and fitness goals on track.  There is always a way to incorporate physical activity into your day so that you can balance calories consumed with calories used.