If you indulge in the salty, fatty, bubbly concoction of food served at the barbecue, your hard-worked-for summer body will melt away like your sunscreen from weird spots on your body. Let us help you. Here are the top 9 things to reach for at the barbecue that won’t have your vintage denim shorts riding high in your thighs later.
If you’re scrounging around for a side, stick with the most musical of fruits even though it’s a legume and not a fruit. Beans, although they can be soaked in sauces, are full of folate and fiber, both of which will do more for you than the pile of mayonnaise with chunks of potato in it.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Watermelon is what you should eat if he wanted to stay hydrated and skinny. It’s full of water, tastes great, has literally no calories, and is filling if you eat enough of it. Plus, all the water is good for your skin—so, really, this is a win-win situation.
Lest we forget that this staple of summertime is, in fact a vegetable. If it’s grilled, it’s a healthy and not-terrible-for-you-at-all side that you can actually enjoy. Spray on a little butter, salt, and pepper and you’re good to go. Try not to go the Mexican street corn route and slather it in mayo, cheese, and spices… although that does sound pretty goddamn good…
Coleslaw is honestly a weird side in general. Who thought of this? “HEY MA I’mma fix some shredded cabbage with mayo and spices and call it a veggie!” Anyway, if it ISN’T the mayonnaise-drenched variety, feel free to indulge. The vinegar (if it’s the apple cider variety) can rev your metabolism and the cabbage is full of nutrients and vitamins.
If the host or hostess of this backyard barbecue are rich enough to be serving everyone steak OR are being misers and cubing it for kebabs, grab it while you can. Although red meat has its issues, it’s honestly better for you than a giant burger or tube of mystery meat since it’s full of protein and vitamins. Just remember 3 oz. is all you need—which would be about the size of your iPhone 7.
In line with steak, a lean grilled chicken breast is a great option for the center of your barbecue plate—as are chicken kebabs. So long as it isn’t fried or smothered in cheese, chicken will get you your protein fix, keep you satisfied, and only clocks in at about 150 calories for a breast.
Our boring friend water saves the day again. Obviously you wouldn’t want to, but chugging a few bottles of water between your snacks and drinks will keep you from diving into the macaroni salad or brownie tray. Plus, you’re outside, so like, be hydrated.
Any decent barbecue has a ton of fresh fruit. I mean, it’s the damn bounty of the season, right? There should be plenty of pineapple, berries, pears, you fucking name it. Fill up on all this before the real food even comes out. That way, your stomach will be begging you to stop before you even think about s’mores and cheeseburgers.
Same rule applies to crudités—aka a veggie platter for the non-bougie among us. Aunt Delilah will surely bring a giant crudité tray to the barbecue for nibbling. Grab a ton of celery, tomatoes, and cucumbers and get to work. SKIP that nasty ranch dip because ranch is for fatties. I’m not even sorry—that is disgusting. If you MUST dip, find some guacamole or salsa. The veggies will help fill you up to prevent your sausage fingers from grabbing another beer or plate of macaroni.