May, “National Barbecue Month,” is the official start to grilling season. No need to feel nervous about these barbecues interfering with any nutrition related goals; instead, there are many ways to incorporate healthy choices!
Tips to enjoy your next barbecue:
1. Think about what you can add to your meal, rather than replace, to make it more nutritious.
• If you’re looking forward to the cheeseburger and potato chips at your next BBQ, there is no need to feel like you have to choose between one or the other to maintain your health goals. Instead, consider adding more fruit and/or vegetables to your meal. By doing so, you are adding more nutrients per amount of food, and more fiber to help keep you full.
• If you are concerned that there may not be any fruits or vegetables that you enjoy, consider bringing a fruit or veggie tray with produce that are in season this month!
2. Adopt mindful eating patterns.
• Practicing mindful eating tactics; such as eating slowly, sitting down away from technology to eat, and listening to hunger cues; can help limit any potential over eating and can help improve digestion.
• Listening to hunger cues consists of determining signs of the beginning of hunger and fullness. Based on a scale of 1-10; 1 being ravenous, and 10 being painfully full; it would be ideal to start eating at a 4, slightly hungry, and to stop at around a 6, satisfied and pleasantly full. When waiting to eat below a 4 on the hunger scale, binging and mindless eating can occur, resulting in overeating.
• Adopting mindful eating patterns can take time, and practice; however, starting with small changes can help this become possible.
3. Maintain normal eating patterns before the event.
• Skipping a meal to “save” up calories for a special event, such as a BBQ,
4. Leave the guilt at home!
• Disassociating guilt with certain foods can help improve our relationships with food and help us to enjoy the company we are with, rather than focusing on what we are consuming. Remember, maintaining a healthy relationship with food is an important aspect to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Many of the produce that are in season this month are great for grilling and are listed with an asterisk (*) next to it.
Apples, apricots, artichokes*, asparagus*, avocado, bananas, blueberries, cabbage*, carrots*, celery*, cherries, garlic*, green peas, kale, lettuce, onions*, pineapple*, potatoes*, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, sweet potatoes*, swiss chard*, strawberries