5 Tips for Eating Mindfully at a Cookout

This upcoming weekend, Memorial Day weekend, is known for having some pretty epic cookouts and BBQs. And come on, let’s admit that most of us could easily polish off a bag of Lay’s chips without blinking an eye. 

Personally, I never suggest people plan on eating baby carrots the whole day because it’s not realistic. I also don’t encourage people to just go wild. When it comes to eating healthy at a fun gathering it’s most important to be mindful. 

Here are 5 Tips for Eating Mindfully at a Cookout: 

  1. Eat beforehand. Be sure to have a good and healthy breakfast and lunch depending on what time the cookout begins. The worst idea is to show up starving because you will eat everything. 

  2. Drink a lot of water. Staying hydrated is good for you in general, but especially important on days where you might splurge more than normal because it helps you feel full and balance out alcohol and food. In fact, I suggest drinking an entire glass of water in between each alcoholic drink.

  3. Don't hover. When you want to eat, grab a plate, fill it up (follow #4 below for how to do that) and then move away from the buffet table. Do NOT spend time chatting with people right next to the bowl of chips. Why? Because it's really easy to just keep eating and eating and eating.

  4. Eat actual meals. When it comes to what you put on your plate, try to control yourself from filling it with 1/2 potato salad and 1/2 potato chips! Instead, aim for eating an actual meal (veggie, starch, protein) and having "fun" stuff as a little extra.

  5. Focus on why you're there: the people! Take time to catch up with old friends, sit and really listen, have fun playing corn hole. Do all of the things that are there to do with other people. The food shouldn't be your main focus - your friends and family should be!

Finally, don't hate yourself the next day for enjoying yourself at the cookout (even if you forgot about these tips). Instead, realize that everyday is a new opportunity and instead of feeling guilty about the day before, make your new day even healthier. In fact, planning a really good workout for the day after a BBQ or Cookout is a great way to help you feel strong and healthy again AND if you plan it ahead of time it can be good motivation for not going too crazy at the party. Let's call that Suggestion #6!