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Summer BBQ: Eat this, not that

Here are some tips on how to have fun this summer at all the BBQs without all the guilt from eating too much.
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 04: Kate Voegele attends the Craig Campbell 2013 Celebrity Cornhole Challenge at Public Square on June 4, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

KUSA - Its summertime: a time to go out, get some fresh air and enjoy a BBQ with friends. However, this is also the time of the year that people are worried about their beach bod.

We want you to be able to go to those BBQ's and enjoy what you eat what you want, all without the guilt! Here are some tips on how to have fun this summer.

  1. Be mindful of what and how much you are eating. Try to learn how to read your body when you are full. Summer BBQ's are a time to get together, eat, and catch up with friends and family. The amount of food that someone eats correlates to how well people know each other; so the better you know someone, the more comfortable you will be eating extra food around them. This means that summer BBQ's can lead to friends and family feeling at ease and eating than they normally would. So after your first plate, take about a 20 minute break to see if you are still hungry before you go back to grab another plateful.
  2. Shoot for a healthier menu. If you are hosting, try to plan a healthier menu. BBQ ribs, potato salad, and beer are full of calories, fat, and sodium. Try substituting them with some healthier, tasty options.
  3. Get some physical activity while you're outside. Fun backyard games aren't just for kids anymore. Adults across the country are playing yard games like baggo/cornhole, ladder golf, and bocce ball. This helps you get some physical activity while having a friendly competition with your friends.
  4. Avoid the burn. Not only does charring your food not taste good, but studies have shown that compounds found in charred and cooked meats contain carcinogens, or cancer causing agents. The compounds are called heterocyclic amine and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and can increase your risk of cancer when consumed regularly. One way to decrease the carcinogens is to marinate your food before you grill it. Use spices or alcohol to increase the flavor and decrease your risk!
  5. Use a smaller plate. Studies show that people serve themselves more and eat more when they have a bigger plate. Grab that salad plate to serve yourself instead of the giant dinner plate to cut on calories while maintaining the taste!

Try to remember these tips this summer and have fun grilling out without the guilt! Your beach bod will thank you!

Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD is a nutrition scientist and registered dietitian at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, University of Colorado Denver. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @MichelleCardel for daily nutrition tips!

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