Revive’s Guide to Barbeques and Picnics

6 Tips to Achieve Balanced Eating this Summer!

Summer means being outdoors with friends and family, which often involves large meals like barbecues and picnics. These events can be tricky to navigate when working towards certain health goals. Here are six tips to help you achieve balanced eating in barbeques and picnics while enjoying yourself at the same time:

1. Stay hydrated.
● During hot summer months, it is easy to become dehydrated quickly. Sometimes dehydration can mask itself as hunger, so it’s a good idea to drink water before eating to help manage your appetite.
● Bring your water bottle to stay hydrated and avoid the stress of finding water.
● Add lemon, cucumber, mint, or other fruits and vegetables to your water for extra flavour.
● If you like carbonated drinks, choose sparkling water to get the bubbliness without the added sugar and calories.

2. Choose plant-based proteins, lean meats, or fish.
● Beans are a great protein option. They are low in fat and high in fibre, which may help lower cholesterol levels. Bean salads are a refreshing option for hot summer days or try making your own veggie burger such as our Black Bean Chipotle Burgers for some inspiration.
● Make your own burger patties with lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken. Making meals at home allows you to expand your cooking skills while giving you more control over the ingredients that are used and the flavour profile.
● Try grilled fish at your next outdoor event as your protein option. Fish is a good source of important nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Don’t forget about the vegetables.
● Try eating vegetables first before serving up the rest of your meal. Their high fiber content can make you feel fuller and help with portion control.
● Vegetables are a great source of many nutrients, such as folate, potassium, and dietary fibre. Adding vegetables to your plate will help ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs.
● Summer is the perfect time to buy seasonal vegetables, so take the initiative and bring a veggie platter, a salad, or a vegetable dish to share. Examples of seasonal vegetables include tomatoes, corn, eggplants, and cucumbers. For more information on seasonal vegetables, check out our Alberta Seasonal Produce Guide.

4. Try fruit as dessert.
● Take advantage of the summer months to buy seasonal fruits, such as watermelon, cherries, apricots, peaches, and berries. To see which fruits are in season, refer back to the Alberta Seasonal Produce Guide.
● Fruits are high in key nutrients such as dietary fibre, vitamin C, and potassium. Choose fresh fruit as dessert, or try grilling it. Grilling fruit caramelizes its natural sugars and brings out its sweetness. Some fruits that grill well include pineapple, peaches, apricots, apples, and cantaloupe.
● Try adding fruits to salads for a refreshing twist. This Quinoa Fruit Salad recipe won’t disappoint!

5. Eat balanced meals throughout the day.
• Don’t avoid eating other meals during the day to save up calories for the event. Instead, eat balanced meals that include fruits and vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This will prevent you from being too hungry at the time of the event, which helps with portion control.
• Have a snack ahead of time to make you feel fuller and prevent overeating at the event. Try our Chickpea Energy Bites and Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts.

6. Enjoy yourself!
● Remember that it is perfectly fine to enjoy these events without guilt. Many times barbecues and picnics are planned around special occasions, so it is okay to focus on celebrating and enjoying the different foods being served.
● The goal is never to be perfect – enjoy all foods in moderation! Food brings joy and allows us to connect with our friends, family, community, traditions, and cultures.
● Slow down and savour each bite of food. This will increase your satisfaction and pleasure and prevent eating to the point of discomfort, which can easily happen when distracted chatting with people.