Memorial weekend tends to be the “Grand Opening” of summer.  Outdoor pools are open, camp grounds are full and barbecues are occurring on every block.  This Memorial weekend is no different.  Whether you are staying local or traveling a barbecue is sure to be on your weekend menu.

So how do you make a barbecue taste great without overloading your daily calorie requirements?  It’s all about presenting the right choices that won’t derail you.

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  1. Appetizers
    1. Spring for hummus and vegetables, fruit kabobs, fruit salsa and guacamole.  These options not only provide a slew of vitamins and minerals but fiber as well.  In addition, eating these appetizers takes time and effort meaning, you have to concentrate on consuming guacamole, fruit salsa, hummus, caprese salad and fruit kabobs.  When your mind has to slow down and concentrate on what you are eating it allows your body to take the necessary time register how full you actual are.  This means eating less overall.
  2. Marinades
    1. Spice it up a bit. Add some chipotles, red pepper flakes or cayenne.  Adding spice to your marinades makes you slow down on how fast you consume your food.  It also makes your metabolism work harder to adjust your body temperature meaning your burning calories without doing any heavy lifting.
  3. Alcohol
    1. Think spritzers.  Use flavored seltzer waters combined with a white wine and fruit for a nice and light summery drink that is half the calories.  If you’re not a big drinker, no problem.  Use the same seltzer water to juices such as pomegranate, watermelon or cranberry juices with a slice of lemon.
  4. Vegetables
    1. Find your flavor in grilled vegetables.  You can take just about anything and grill it.  Think potatoes, zucchini, squash, corn, peppers and more.  Cut them up and wrap in foil with olive oil and fresh herbs or put them directly on the grill.  No matter what way you make them they are a great barbecue favorite that fills you up so eat them first!
  5. Dessert
    1. Every good barbecue ends with something sweet.  Try something creative by dipping bananas in chocolate and freezing them or making yogurt popsicles for a nice cool treat.  If that’s not your ticket, make a family favorite S’Mores. Just watch how many pieces of chocolate and marshmallows your consume prior to making the actual S’More.

In the end, summer barbecues are about being with family and friends.  Enjoy all aspects, even the food 🙂