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by Tina Haupert

Tina Haupert blogs at Carrots 'N' Cake, a healthy living and lifestyle blog where she shares her passion for health, food, and fitness. She is also a published author, freelance writer for Health.com, and an ambassador for various brands, including The Laughing Cow, Silk, and Reebok.

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  • Barbeques and backyard parties are my favorite part of the summer. I mean, who can resist good friends, good times, and good food? But, if you're at all like me, sometimes these fun summer get-togethers make it too easy to overindulge. Of course, I know that one day of splurging on cheeseburgers and cocktails won't do too much damage, but regularly letting loose at barbeques certainly doesn't help my healthy lifestyle. With that said, here are a few things I do to keep my summer barbeques mostly healthy!
  • Make Those Splurges Count

    I don't want to overdo it on high-calorie party foods, so I choose wisely and select the ones I want most. For example, I love sweets. So, I typically skip the appetizers--especially if they're the same old chips and dip--and wait for the dessert options at the end of the party. That way, I save my calories for a splurge that I really want! 

    Use a Small Plate

    When faced with a spread full of delicious foods, I grab a small plate to serve myself since it provides me with a visual aid of how much I am eating. It's easy for me to lose track of small bites here and there, so using a plate really works for me. Plus, I can always go back for a refill if I'm still hungry.
  • fruit salad
    Photo: Jo Cooks
  • Load Up on Brightly-Colored Fare

    I don't mean those neon orange Doritos! I'm talking about fresh fruits and veggies, which are packed with fiber and lots of vitamins. I like to eat, so I usually want to fill my plate, but, of course, I don't want to overdo it on the calories. Loading up on fresh produce, such as a mixed green salad or fruit salad, is the perfect way to satisfy my hunger while keeping my calories in check.

    Pass on (High-Calorie) Extras

    Calories at summer parties can really add up, so I cut them where I can. For instance, instead of eating a calorie-packed bacon cheeseburger, I pass on the cheese and bacon. Instead, I amp up my burger's flavor profile with lettuce, tomato, pickles, buffalo sauce, and Dijon mustard. With all of those flavors, I don't even miss the bacon and cheese!
  • summer
    Photos: Tina Haupert
  • Get Up and Get Moving

    When I'm done eating at a barbeque, I like to get up and get moving by playing a few yard games with friends and family. Instead of mindlessly munching on food, stepping away to play games helps me burn some extra calories and gives me a fun way to interact with everyone at the party.
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