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How to Keep Your Cookout Healthy

By Sara Butler

It's cookout season, which means there are buffet tables full of tempting foods that will be calling your name. It's easy to overindulge at a cookout, but if you put a few tips into practice, you'll leave satisfied instead of bemoaning those last three brownies you ate, even if they were delicious.

Plan of Attack

You don't have to know the entire menu before you arrive to have a plan for when you get there. After all, you can predict the classic summertime foods that will be available with some accuracy just based on past experience.

Make a deal with yourself that you will avoid foods you know lack nutrition and that you'll only eat foods that are healthy. Steer clear of hotdogs full of nitrates, greasy fried foods, and any potato salad drowning in mayonnaise. You know what foods are healthy and which aren't, so listen to your gut and go healthy.

Don't Go Hungry

If you show up to a cookout hungry, then you may be willing to throw your best-laid plans out the window. Avoid this trap by having a healthy and satisfying snack a few hours before you go. Opt for something high in fiber, such as hummus, to keep you feeling fuller for longer, or maybe some nuts or avocado on whole grain toast.

Don't Overdo Hors D'Oeuvres

The finger foods available at cookouts tend to be high in calories but not high in much else, meaning you'll eat a lot of them but still feel hungry sooner rather than later. Try to save room for the main course and have only a couple of snacks. Don't hang around the appetizer table, either, so you're not tempted to graze mindlessly.

Go Healthy

It's important to stick to healthy foods at the cookout. Grilled meats, vegetables, and fruits are always going to be good choices. Try to stay seasonal in your choices by having some fresh melon, corn on the cob, grilled chicken or fish, and ripe tomatoes.

You cannot expect perfection from yourself, but taking just a few steps can have a big impact on your nutrition when eating at a cookout. You don't want to throw your healthy eating plans out the window but you don't need to deprive yourself either, so go ahead and have a little of some of the more tempting fare, but stick to the tried-and-truth healthy options for the main course.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Round Rock, Tex.

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