Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Red, White & Blue! Healthy Barbecue!

Pebbles Counts, MS, RDN, LD

Fireworks, friends and great food… What’s NOT to love about summertime and celebrating the 4th?! I recently saw a statistic by U.S. News which reported that Americans consume approximately 150 million hot dogs over the holiday weekend. Now that’s a lot of hot dogs! I’m more of a grilled chicken kind of girl myself, however, for all of you hot dog lovers out there… Here is some good news! You CAN still have your hot dog (notice how that wasn’t plural), and eat it too! But let’s not go overboard like the winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest did last year by inhaling a record 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes! Yikes! So, let’s talk about some of my favorite tips for keeping your waistline trim over the 4th of July holiday and as you celebrate any occasion during summer.

  • Use a smaller plate. This goes for any holiday party throughout the year. Instead of grabbing those larger foam plates with multiple cafeteria tray sections, just pick the regular plates with 1-3 sections.
  • Slow and steady wins the race. Sort of. What I mean is, enjoy your meal and don’t try to scarf down every food item you see. Engage in conversation or play a fun game AWAY from the food table so that you aren’t tempted to grab a handful of chips. You’ll thank me later!
  • Fill up on fruits and veggies first. Skip the chips and choose fresh fruit or vegetables to munch on. Grill some veggies such as zucchini, squash or corn (yummy recipe below) as a healthy side to make the most of your calories!
  • Think before you drink. Alcohol equals empty calories, and one drink can cost you anywhere from 100 to 800 calories. Why not use those calories on the good food?! Also, keep water with you throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • Don’t skip meals. Try not to “save” your calories by avoiding your regular meals. This will only make you hungrier when you get to the party and allow you to munch on the first thing you see… (probably those chips). Trust me, you’ll make healthier decisions when you aren’t hungry. We’ve all been there!

Got a BBQ coming up? Try some of these healthy AND delicious recipes!

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