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Published on August 30, 2013

Tips for a Healthy Labor Day BBQ

Grilled ChickenIt’s that time of year again.  Shopping for school supplies and uniforms and getting back in the swing of the school year schedule.  But wait!  There is one last summer celebration, the Labor Day BBQ.

You’ve worked hard all summer long to get in shape and you don’t want to compromise your waistline now. But you don’t have to be the health nut that dampens the party spirit either. Here are a few healthy eating tips for both hosts and guests from Sarah Schein, a dietitian at Abington Memorial Hospital.

For the Host:

  • Select healthy meats: Schein recommends serving grilled fish, shrimp cocktail and grilled chicken. Burgers, pulled pork, fried chicken, and hot dogs are all high in saturated fat and calories. If you must have at least a burger, be sure to buy meat that’s at least 90 percent lean. Opt for whole-wheat buns as well.
  • Make healthy kebabs: Mix up bite-sized chunks of veggies, such as cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, some cubed chicken or salmon. Add fruit, such as pineapple chunks for this fun and healthy alternative.
  • Create healthy side dishes: Grill up some veggies, such as corn, asparagus, potatoes, and make colorful salads with spinach, tomatoes, carrots, etc. You can also create a healthy version of coleslaw or potato salad by replacing half the mayonnaise with nonfat plain yogurt.
  • Make Healthy Desserts: We love to conclude our meals with sugary treats just as much as you do so here are some low-cal options.

For the Guest:

  • Have a Game Plan: Setting limits is a great way to prepare yourself for healthy eating. If you say you’re only going back to the food table once then stick to it! 
  • Steer Clear of the Chips: Stay away from the chips, crackers, and bread. Instead, go straight to the healthier stuff first and fill up on foods that take longer to digest and have fewer calories.
  • Embrace Portion Control: It can be difficult to control how much delicious food you eat when you’re surrounded by it, so grab a small plate if one’s available. Research has shown that those who choose smaller plates than average eat up to 50 percent less calories, and don’t even notice the difference.
  • Drink in Moderation: Go for low or no-calorie beverages to help cut down on calories.
  • Eat slowly: Eating slowly can help you eat fewer calories, since you’re more likely to feel full sooner.

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