A healthier summer cookout for a trim body

Summertime is here and the barbecue grills are heating up! Everyone loves a summertime cookout with family and friends, friendly yard-game competitions, and plenty of sunshine, and of course, FOOD!

Typical cookout foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, potato salad, potato chips, pulled pork sandwiches, and more are usually packed with an overabundance of calories and fat. While these foods taste great, the bad news is these all-American, summertime cookout staples are not so great for a summer beach body. Too much of these foods can add inches to the waistline without warning.

At picnics it’s not always easy to control what food options will be available, but there is control over what choices are made as to what is consumed. At the next cookout with family and friends, remember these simple tips:

• Fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Yes, corn on the cob is a vegetable.

• Skip the bun and the cheese! If that juicy hamburger calls your name, eat it without the extras. By doing this you can cut anywhere from 140-200 calories from your plate.

• Stick to lean meats. Grilled chicken or a lean burger is your best option and always try to avoid fried meats.

• Be mindful of your beverage consumption. If you enjoy eating, avoid drinking your calories. Sugary sodas and alcohol are big calorie holders and drinking water is calorie-free and better to avoid dehydration on hot summer days.

• Moderation is key. Before going back for that second hot dog or hamburgers, ask yourself, do I really need this?

• After you eat, go play a game. Challenge someone in a game of volleyball or some other activity that burns off those calories.

McNally is a wellness educator and health coach with Evangelical Community Health and Wellness. To learn more about how you might benefit from participating in a health and wellness coaching program, call 570-768-3200.