With summer in full swing and the sun shining, it’s the perfect time to meet up with family or friends outdoors for a (socially distanced) picnic or barbeque! One of the best things about picnics or barbeques is undoubtedly the food and drink and while these occasions might be a good time for your taste buds, it can often lead to your nutrition being put on the back burner.
But what if you could enjoy these events this summer without impacting your healthy eating or weight loss goals? Here are some tips on how to enjoy your al fresco dining this summer while staying on track and still reaching your health goals!
Eat a good breakfast
Research shows that eating breakfast every day can help with weight control. Eating a breakfast that contains a source of protein and high fibre carbohydrates will keep you full for longer and can help to avoid snacking on unhealthy snacks between meals.
If you're in a rush, having breakfast ready to go is essential. Why not stock up on some of our filling, nutritious breakfasts like our Oatmeal with Greek Style Yoghurt, Fruit and Nuts or for a weekend brunch try our new Protein Pancakes with Berries.
Opt for High Fibre Picnic Foods
High fibre foods will not only help to keep you full for longer during the day, but will also aid digestion, helping to prevent that feeling of bloating or discomfort after a carb-heavy picnic or barbeque.
- Swap white bread/rolls/wraps for wholemeal or wholegrain varieties
- Include high fibre grains such as brown rice, brown pasta, couscous and quinoa in your side dishes
- Add beans and lentils to your salads such as roasted chickpeas with hummus, or a lentil and black bean salad
Water not only keeps you hydrated but also aids the digestion of food and helps prevent bloating. Try to bring a bottle of water with you to your picnic or barbeque and make a conscious effort to drain and fill it a couple of times in the day. Aim for 2L per day or at least 8 glasses as a guide.
Go easy on the alcohol!
While a cold beer or a glass of wine often go hand in hand with a picnic or barbeque, it's easy to overconsume at these kinds of occasions and this can really impact any healthy eating or weight loss results you may be trying to achieve. That does not mean to say you should deny yourself alcohol (everyone needs a treat from time to time), but perhaps alternate a glass of alcohol with a glass of water, a lemonade or kombucha to stay hydrated. You can even add cucumber and mint or strawberries to your water to add some flavour!
Include lots of veggies
Eating a wide variety of vegetables will provide you with a variety of important nutrients needed for energy and overall health so don't forget to include some vegetable based dishes at your summer picnics and barbeques.
- Fill up on summer salads.
- Make veggie kebabs with zucchini, squash, peppers, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms and pair with dips such as pesto, hummus or salsa.
- Crunchy roasted chickpeas make for a flavourful high fibre snack!
Eat fresh seasonal fruit
Summer fruits like raspberries and strawberries are not only tasty and hydrating but are also an excellent source of fibre and rich in many important vitamins and minerals.
Slice banana, mango, melon, strawberries, passionfruit, or any other combination of fruit to create a brightly-coloured, refreshing and nutritious fruit salad!
Limit fatty meats
Hot dogs, sausages and burgers are popular choices at picnics and barbeques, but these meats are high in saturated fats and should be eating in moderation. Try grilling fish, lean poultry or why not try some plant-based alternatives such as veggies burgers, grilled veggies, tofu or tempeh.
Mind your sauces
Not all picnic and barbeque salads need to be slathered in mayonnaise or hot sauce. Instead of opting for pre-packaged salads, why not whip up your own healthier sauces that won’t pack on the calories. For example, instead of a mayo-based potato salad or coleslaw why not make your own with Greek yoghurt for a tasty but lower calorie salad and a good protein boost! Or try adding vinaigrettes, olive oil, lemon, and spices to salads instead of more caloire dense creamy dressings.
Everything in moderation
Make sure to have a good time! This is what BBQs and picnics are all about. Some days we might eat more than others or might have foods that may not be as nutritious. But, it's okay to eat these foods in moderation once in a while, we just have ensure its not becoming a regular habit. Be mindful of these moments, enjoy them, and move on. We're always here at Gourmet Fuel to help you get back on track!