Spring Festivals, Sports Gatherings, Award Shows and Cookouts. Be Prepared.
The sporting season is always “here” and that means more neighborhood gatherings to watch the “big games.” Summer is approaching and award shows or season finales, birthday parties and other reasons for get together may prove to be a danger zone when it comes to keeping your healthy eating on point. Cookouts and BBQs, movie nights on the lawns (as the snow starts to thaw) are popping up on the calendars, so you should be equipped to …
…make the best choices when it comes to what to eat to best survive a these festive gatherings:
⚘ Plan ahead.
If you know for sure you won’t be able to find something to eat at the cookout (special diet restrictions) eat before you go. I always suggest drinking a large vegetable green juice (made with juiced greens: kale, spinach, parsley, apple, cucumber, celery, and lime). This will flood your whole body with phytonutrients to boost up immune system (just in case you choose to eat the hot dog or hamburger and fries). Drinking a 24 or 32 oz of this green goddess before you arrive to food festivals and parties will help your body feel more full so you don’t have to go to the food table when you arrive. If you don’t want to eat beforehand, don’t be embarrassed to bring a few things with you to eat. Bring a little lunch box with foods you want to eat.
⚘ Sharing is Caring.
Bring a healthy dish that you would want to eat and share it with others. Usually, at cookouts, everyone is asked to bring a food to share, potluck style, so why not make yours a clean, healthy and vibrant dish you can enjoy too?
⚘ Assess the situation when you arrive.
Sometimes, your attitude going into the meal can make or break your barbecue experience. Don’t be overwhelmed by the food choices near the kitchen or grill when you get there. Be present. Think good thoughts and be patient. You do not have to eat everything. Be choosy. Have fun, but don’t make it all about the food.
⚘ Bring your own water.
At most cookouts or festivals, there is usually sugary drinks, beer and ice ceam, but not always water. Just in case there is no water (or water under $4 each), be prepared and bring your own. Infuse some lemon or orange slices to add some flavor and fun.
⚘ Fill your plate once.
Choose the small plate, or take the big one and fill it up just once. Treating cookouts like a buffet will add the middle fluff to your body. Take one serving of lean protein. Go for fish if that is available, which usually is the leanest options. Fill the rest of your plate with other healthy foods, such as live greens, salads or grilled vegetables, roasted corn, tomato slices and fruit. Enjoy that first plate, but then throw the plate away and stop eating. Enjoy the people there.
⚘ Go easy on the condiments.
Not only will you save on possible food poisoning from unrefrigerated mayo, condiments can add lots of artificial ingredients and preservatives to your meal. Instead, bring your own olive oil and balsamic vinegar or use more mustard, tomatoes, onions, and pickles, and by pass the cheese, barbecue sauce and mayo.
⚘ Steer clear of mayonnaise-based salads.
Mayo based salads are still a great American past time meal side. Favorites are: macaroni salad, potato salad and broccoli salads which are all mayonnaise-based salads. Mayo is basically just fat, and mixing fat with refined carbs is not the most alkaline and healthy choice at a cook out.
⚘ Remember to fill your plate with fruit salad, raw veggies, corn on the cob, pickles, grilled peppers and onions, salsa, guacamole, beans, garden salad, and anything else that looks healthier.
Start your day with a green juice. Drink lots of clean water and spend more energy with the people than by the food platters. Stay away from anything fried and choose dessert wisely. Opt for fresh fruit instead of the processed cakes, pastries and ice cream. You’ll thank yourself later.