There are many benefits to cookouts: the meat or vegetables are grilled not fried and fresh fruits are in season. There are also lots of temptations: pasta salads, high fat meats like brats, and desserts galore.
- Lay off the mayo: Mayonnaise is one of the highest fat ingredients and condiments. One tablespoon of mayo has 10 grams of fat. Mayonnaise laden salads such as potato and pasta salad are high in calories and fat. You can make pasta and potato salads with light or fat free mayonnaise, switch out with low fat yogurt, or you can limit your portion sizes to ½ cup or less.
- Choose lean protein: Do not be in denial – brats and hot dogs are high in fat. Most bratwursts have 15-25 grams of fat each, which is about one third to one half of that fat you should have for the whole day. Choose leaner meats such as chicken breast, pork tenderloin, tuna, or salmon.
- Savor one special dessert rather than trying everything. Mindless eating is an easy trap during parties. You may find yourself nibbling on store bought cookies when really you just want to try your best friend’s homemade brownies. With desserts, be choosey. Pick your favorite special dessert and enjoy it! Eat slowly and try to eat a small portion.
- Chew more: Eating slowly results in eating less. A study in 2013 from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that eating slowly reduces risk of obesity and increases sense of fullness. People often eat in less than 20 minutes and do not realize when they are feeling full. Make a point of chewing slowly and prolonging your meals.
- Pick calorie free beverages: Calories from beverages add up. Avoid sugary beverages such as regular soda, lemonade, tea with sugar, and alcohol. Instead drink water with lemon or lime, soda water, sugar-free lemonade, and unsweetened tea.