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Make salad, not war or What I eat at a BBQ

July 6, 2011
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So living in Texas (as opposed to Manhattan, where I lived for the first 27 years of my life) definitely has its food challenges.  Austin has amazing food, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it dietetic, and it’s still working on becoming more veg friendly.  However, it is much more veg friendly than I thought it would be.  Recently one of the healthy eating challenges I seem to face at least three times per weekend are all of the bbq’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful to have met so many wonderful people who I love in Austin, and get invited to all of these parties.  However, going to so many bbq’s and parties every weekend has been a HUGE challenge for my healthy, Weight Watcher Leader eating ways.  Here are the strategies I use to get through it:

1. No alcohol.  Not even one drink.  It cuts out the empty alcohol calories and also keeps me on my toes with food choices.

2. Make and bring a HUGE salad to share.  Here is my current super easy and simple recipe: Huge bag of organic mixed baby greens, 1-2 organic avocados cubed, 2 large organic tomatoes, and some chopped up fresh basil from my garden (go me!)  Sometimes I also throw on some slivered almonds if I have them around.  If there are grilled vegetables and or corn on the cob without butter/oil at the party, I will throw this on top as well.

3. I also bring an embarrassing amount of cut up watermelon.  First of all, I LO-VE watermelon and its in season, so I can get a huge organic watermelon at the local farmers market, Whole Foods, or Central Market for 4-6 dollars depending on the size and the sale.  I finally decided to start buying my own and cutting it up rather than buying those pre-cut packages that cost 3-5 x as much.   This serves as a yummy and super healthy desert instead of the baked goods and ice cream.  It also leaves me with plenty for the rest of the week.

4. I have a small snack before I go.  Usually watermelon since I have so much!

5. I get up from the table as much as possible to help clean.  This accomplishes two things: it takes me out of the eating game which can go on for hours at a party, and I feel the longer you sit at the table, the more you will eat.  And second, it’s just a nice thing to do, and people are nicer in the south.

6. I eat lighter earlier in the day. I don’t starve or anything, but I will just eat fewer calories and plan  what I will eat at the bbq which is typically something I will bring.

7. I don’t stay until the very end for the same reason as number 5, often using the puppies as an excuse “I have to get back to walk the dogs.”  This is usually true, but it also helps me out of a pickle.

What types of strategies do you guys use to stay on target at a party?  Hope this helps!



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