When I go to a bbq, I want to have fun. And I want you to have fun. Of course I want you to be healthy and not screw up your diet - but in order to do this you need to put the day in perspective. It's not your last meal, but it's also not a normal day. Find balance and you'll find that staying healthy at a bbq is no big deal.
Here are some tricks of the trade that I've picked up over the years:
1. Food is great, but there are other reasons why we go to a BBQ. Remind yourself that you are there to spend time with your friends (not hover over the buffet). Try and switch your perspective and remember that the purpose of the bbq isn't JUST to eat - sit in a chair and enjoy being outside, catch-up with your family and friends. Eat when/if you're hungry.
2. Play "Let's Make a Deal". I love salty and savory foods - I like dessert but it's not a deal breaker for me. So that means that I'll make a deal with myself to enjoy a handful of chips and dip and skip dessert. And if dessert comes, and it looks amazing - I have one bite, hey, I made a deal (and at least I got my chips).
3. Know When to Stop. I find them sometimes when I am at a BBQ - I just keep picking at food all day long, even when I'm no longer hungry. Think about it - that's insane. Eat like you would on any normal day - with normal portion sizes. Would you eat 4 hamburgers and a pound of dip after work on a Tuesday? No? Then don't do it at a bbq.
4. Outdoor activities are your friend. Sneak in a little exercise where you can. Are people playing bocce? Play with them. Lawn darts? Just do it. Keep it moving and you're likely to eat less.
5. Stay light when it comes to alcohol. I'm not going to tell you to have one beer and 8 glasses of water. Drink your beer, wine or whatever it is that you drink. Just think about what you are doing. Pick light beer if possible, and if it's margaritas - consider having just one (the sugar and calories in a margarita are just not worth it to me).
6. Have breakfast. Arriving at a bbq ravenously hungry is a bad idea. You know it, and I know it. So eat something.
Remember, you aren't going to gain 5 lbs in a day. Take it easy on yourself and have fun - and remember that you can go back to your healthy lifestyle tomorrow. The day after a bbq - wake up, have a big glass of water - and declare the pig-out over. Then stick with it.
Have a great 4th of July weekend everyone! If you eat anything awesome that I need to know about - tell me in the comments.