5 Grill Hacks to Lose Weight this Summer

Now that the mandates have eased in most states, many of us are more excited than ever to get out more. But with warmer weather, that also means shorts and tank tops. Unfortunately, this reminds us that we aren't in as good of shape as we were two years ago. 🙁

Are you like me? Are you worried that if you gain an extra pound, you will no longer fit into those clothes you easily put on two years ago? Do you wonder how to drop those extra 10-20 pounds this summer?

Woman in pool

Now that there are more opportunities to hang out with friends and family, this means more barbecues!

The healthier alternative to fried and other high fat methods of cooking is barbecuing also known as grilling. Grilling is lower calorie cooking (unless you pile on the oil). So, if you're worried that those extra barbecue parties are going to make your “problem” worse, then check out these 5 healthy grill hacks to help you lose weight this summer.

1. Choose leaner cuts of meat

When we think of summer grilling, probably the first thing that comes to mind is hamburgers and hot dogs. Perhaps steaks if you are having a fancy evening. If weight loss or weight loss maintenance is your goal for this grilling season, heed this tip. It's a smart idea to reduce consumption of red meat which is known to cause weight gain and increase the risk of cancer. You can also opt to replace beef burgers and steaks with chicken, turkey, or even exotic choices like venison or bison.

Salad with Chicken strips, julienne carrots, purple cabbage, cucumbers, and white mystery vegetable

2. Skip the bun and bread

If you’re watching your calories, you’ll also want to keep a close eye on carbohydrate intake. Note that I am not saying don't eat carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are an extremely important part of a healthy, balanced diet. The problem is that most of us don't realize what the serving size is. As a result, we eat more than we realize when we have a bun or a piece of bread. You can skip the bread altogether at a barbecue to save a few calories, or you can opt for a half bun, instead of a whole bun, one slice instead of two slices of bread for a sandwich.

Watching the size of the bun is important as well.

For example, you can buy buns that only have about 120 calories (usually the smallest ones you see in the store–by the way whole wheat is best) or you can buy buns that have almost 300 calories! If you read the label before you buy buns, you will become familiar with the calories. Thus, when you see a bun at a barbecue, you will have a better idea of what you are eating.

3. Just add veggies

When in doubt, fill your plate with a variety of fresh veggies or salads to accompany your lean grilled meat this summer. Choose healthy flavorful options such as marinated kale salad, a tasty slaw, fresh lettuce, spring greens and tomato, or other, similar vegetables. The general rule if you're trying to lose weight is to emphasize vegetables because they are low in calories. Keep in mind that starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are healthy, but are higher in calories, so watch your serving sizes.

Below is a table showing the recommended servings by food group and daily calorie needs. Click here to visit myplate.gov to learn more about your and your family's calorie needs and recommended servings.

5 Grill Hacks Lose Weight Summer Pink Servings Table

4. Go grass-fed when you can

Budget and availability will influence your choice in what to buy in the way of meat. However, know that there are ways to get better quality meat. Sourced from free range animals that enjoy a diet of grass. This is the best way to get healthy, happy animals and great tasting, humanely raised meats. You can go in on a meat share with a friend and buy according to what’s in season. And there is evidence that grass-fed beef is lower in calories in addition to being lower in saturated fat and higher in healthy fats. 

5. Marinate the healthy way

Not all marinades are created equal. Many of those tempting-looking bottles that you find on your grocery store shelves are packed with sugar and sodium. They contain filler ingredients and flavor enhancers that will wreak havoc on your diet, cause water retention, and result in higher blood pressure readouts. None of this is desirable if you are looking to lose weight and get healthy.

red and yellow vegetables, mushrooms in grill basketFinally, mind your beverage intake. Alcohol, soda pop, and juice drinks (as opposed to 100% juices) contain unhealthy amounts of sugar; opt for tea with a little honey or Stevia. You can even add a little tonic water to make your tea bubbly.

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