Slimming Solutions For The Memorial Day Barbecue

Pappas_CMemorial Day Weekend is an unofficial start to the summer. After months of hard work, it’s nice to enjoy this long weekend with friends and family. Most holidays tend to be very food-focused; we naturally gravitate towards celebrating with food. If you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are some simple strategies that you can implement during this exciting weekend.

Bring A Healthy Dish

If you are hosting the Memorial Day celebration, then you will likely have full control over what you prepare and serve to your guests. However, if you are visiting friends or family, the food may not live up to your healthy expectations. Instead of bringing cookies or cake, ask your host if you can bring a large salad, fruit platter, grilled vegetables or another healthy dish. This ensures that you will have at least one healthy item to enjoy at the party.

Pappas_BChoose A Lean, Unprocessed Protein

Cheeseburgers, hot dogs and steak are staple items at the typical Memorial Day barbecue. Not only do these items contain high amounts of saturated fat and calories, but processed meats in particular contain preservatives that have been linked to colorectal cancer. Lean, unprocessed proteins include turkey burgers, veggie burgers, chicken breast and salmon.

Beware Of Charring

Try to avoid charring your foods until they are burnt, as these charred areas are a source of carcinogenic chemicals. Carcinogens can directly damage our genetic material and initiate the development of certain cancers. If there are charred pieces on your food, try to cut them off and enjoy the rest of your meal. Your DNA will thank you.

Follow MyPlate

Did you know that the food pyramid has been replaced? MyPlate is the current nutrition guide published by the USDA. MyPlate includes a plate and glass image that is divided into all five food groups. This new guide emphasizes portion control and is an excellent concept to keep in mind during your Memorial Day weekend. One of the main recommendations includes making half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Not only do fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, but they also are typically high in fiber and healthy phytonutrients.

Pappas_DStay Active

The issue with holidays and celebratory occasions is that we often lose our routine. You may be an avid gym-goer during the week, but when a holiday comes around, fitness goes on the back burner. Schedule some healthy exercise into your weekend, even if it’s a simple walk after dinner with the family. Instead of formal exercise, you can stay active over the weekend at your Memorial Day BBQ. Go for a swim with friends or start a fun game of volleyball in the backyard.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

When you are out socializing in the sun for a long period of time, you are at high risk of getting burnt. Sun rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which is likely when you will be out celebrating the weekend. Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply throughout the day to avoid getting sunburned.

Focus on moderation when it comes to your eating and respect your fullness. Listen to your body’s natural hunger cues and indulge in a sensible way. Take advantage of the long weekend with friends and family and make an effort to relax as well.

PappasHeadsotStefani Pappas, CPT, CWMS is a nutritionist pursuing a career as a registered dietitian. She is a personal trainer, Equinox fitness instructor and contributing writer for Elite Daily.

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Stefani Pappas Sassos
Long Island Weekly columnist Stefani Pappas, RDN, CPT, is a clinical dietitian at St. Francis Hospital. She also provides private and group nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit Stef Health Tips for more information.

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