The smell of a BBQ cooking, wafting on the breeze, is enough to whet even the most devout of dieters’ taste buds. In the UK we are obsessed with BBQs and, whilst BBQ-ing your food can be a healthy way to cook, things often go awry when marinades, meats, alcohol and calorie-laden side dishes are brought to the table.

Summer is a great time of year as the long, lazy and halcyon days lend themselves perfectly to socialising, parties and get-togethers with family and friends. However, all of these inevitably involve food and drink, so surviving the summer social season when you are on a diet might seem something of a minefield.

If you are keen to keep your hard earned diet, weight loss and fitness goals on track, then fret no more as the team at Vital Health and Wellbeing Club is here with a few handy tips and hints on how to make summer BBQs, parties and social occasions healthy and wholesome. Let’s take a closer look at why you no longer need to accept invitations with fear:

It is customary to generally take a small token of thanks to the host. However, rather than taking a bottle of wine or chocolates, why not make a healthy dish instead by way of a contribution to the fare on offer. This means that not only will you impress your host, but you will also be certain that there is at least one healthy option available to you as well.

Buffets often spell disaster. It is scientifically proven that we eat almost one third more when there is a limitless supply of food presented to us. Whilst it may seem impossible, try to just have one serving and ensure your plate is filled mainly with green salads, tomatoes and other vegetable offerings. Approach other ‘salads’ with caution, such as coleslaw, rice salad, potato salad, Waldorf salad etc. as these are invariably laden with cream, mayonnaise and a whole host of calories – as well as refined carbohydrates which cause your blood sugar levels to peak and then plummet, leaving you wanting to snack. Just because they contain the word ‘salad’ it does not give you carte blanche to dive in!

Think about the order in which you stock up your plate. Most people head to the grill first and then top up any space left on their plate with a token gesture of salad. However, head to the salads first and then go to the grill last so there is only a small amount of space left to accommodate the meats and treats. And be ‘fat aware’. Many processed meats, such as burgers and sausages, are full of bad saturated fat. So why not opt for the healthier options, including chicken drumsticks, chicken thighs or chicken breast, as well as chargrilled veggies such as sweetcorn, or vegetable kebabs.

Alcohol is a dieters’ nemesis. It contains absolutely zero nutrition, but it is full of calories and sugar which are converted straight to fat. Furthermore, even just a couple of drinks is enough to encourage you to snack. So the moral of the story is to be drink aware and limit yourself to just a couple – and stick to it! Or even better, why not offer to be the chauffeur. That way all temptation and need for willpower is removed entirely as you enjoy an alcohol-free day or night. Plus, there’s no headache in the morning to contend with either.

Good things come to those who exercise…

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