- Salsa and chips: Salsa is low in calories and
relatively healthy, save for its hefty sodium content. Chips, on the
other hand, are easy to overeat and contain a substantial amount of
calories. Depending on the chips you choose, they may contain around 130
calories for about 13 chips. Try to limit yourself to one serving (a
couple of handfuls) and have salsa on each chip to help fill you up and
slow you down. You can also “fill up” without filling out if you replace
chips with some fresh veggies.
- Barbecue: Barbecued meats are succulent and
delicious. Barbecuing can cause some of the fat in meat to drip away,
giving you a leaner product. However, after adding barbecue sauce, olive
oil and other marinates to your meat, you can end up adding back many
of the calories that you saved.Take it easy on sauces. Try giving foods a
light coating of oil rather than soaking them in heavy dressings. Try
marinating in wine and spices, which are lower in calories and high in
taste. When choosing meats, portion control is the key. Try to stick to
3-4 oz. of steak (a palm-sized portion), 5-6 oz. of chicken (a couple of
legs of a small breast), and single, reasonable portions of sausage,
hot dogs and hamburgers.
- Veg Out: If you’re hosting the barbecue, try to
offer a variety of barbecued foods, not just meat. Why not grill some
vegetables such as portabellos, onions, peppers, and corn? Some fruits,
such as pineapple, also grill terrifically well, and provide color and
interest to your barbecue. Pizza is another terrific barbecue meal and
can be loaded with veggies. Remember, the more veggies, the fuller
you’ll feel, the more nutrient-dense your meal and the lower the number
of calories you’re likely to consume.
Ice cream, chocolate, and pies taste great after salty barbecue. But
they can be big-time calorie bombs! Stick to ice pops (especially the
ones with chunks of real fruit), which are usually under 100 calories a
piece, or fruit, a portion of which is also below 100. These high
water-content foods are more refreshing than heavy desserts and they
make a smaller dent in your calorie budget.
- Alcoholic beverages: A 12-oz. bottle of beer has
around 140 calories, and most light beers have about 100 calories. A 5
oz. class of wine has around 125 calories. Many drinks made with hard
liquor and flavored mixes can contain 300 calories or more. Watch your
drink intake to control calories and to prevent dehydration when it’s
hot outside. Remember that alcohol can also increase your appetite,
causing you to eat more. Enough said!
- Condiments and Sides: You may have the lightest meats and treats, but you can ruin the low-calorie theme with high-calorie side dishes. Shy away from potato salad (which also spoils easily in the sun) and go for pasta salads that contain grilled veggies and a light vinaigrette. Go easy on sodium-heavy ketchup and barbecue sauce. If you’re hosting, put out trays of slices onions, tomatoes, and lettuce for dressing burgers. Avocadoes are also excellent in salads and when layered on burgers and even hot dogs.