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Slimmer Down

Hitting the high season of grilling and parties can undermine your diet—here’s help

Photograph: istockphoto.com/©MPhillips007

Everyone complains about dreaded holiday weight, but for some folks barbecue season can be as much a fitness saboteur as that ghost of Christmas pasta. “You would think summer would naturally compel us to eat lighter, but that isn’t always the case,” says nutritionist Annette Alfieri of Fairfield-based Lighten Up. “People’s schedules are off and there’s just much more entertaining.”

If burgers, brownies and beer are your dietary bugaboo, consider what some of Fairfield County’s savviest wellness experts suggest for revolutionizing your summer barbecue experience.

Healthy Eats First

Drizzle salads with olive oil or dip veggies into some avocado-rich guacamole. Healthy fats keep you sated and prevent overdoing it on unhealthier noshes, says Marcy Kurzman, wellness coach and founder of the Stamford-based Nutrition Becomes You.

Put it on a Barbie

“Skewers of fish, chicken and even steak (alternating with fruits and veggies) can be a healthy, delicious meal on a stick,” says Annette Alfieri.  

Think Outside the Burger Bun

“You can Google amazing recipes for really delicious salmon, turkey and even black bean burgers,” says Marcy. And speaking of buns, “make sure they’re whole wheat.”

Get Moving

Jump into those volleyball games, Frisbee matches and pool sports, advises Dr. Mehmet Oz’s personal trainer Donovan Green, who’s based at New Canaan’s Oxygen Fitness and his own Shock Studio in Fairfield. “It keeps you from just sitting in a chair all day with a plate of food.”

Sip Light

“Two or three sodas or (alcoholic drinks) equal too many unwanted calories,” says Donovan. Drinks mixed with seltzer cut calories and booze consumption. Water is always the best choice.

Rethink Dessert

Instead of brownies and pies, guests may appreciate decadent grilled pineapple and peaches, fruit platters topped with whipped cream or homemade Italian ices, suggests Annette.

Enjoy the House Specialty “If your host makes amazing ribs and you want to dig in, plan around it,” says Annette.  Pile your plate with green salad, a few of those juicy ribs and skip the fatty potato and egg salads.

Pitch In

 “One way to guarantee there’s something healthy to eat is to bring the fruit or veggie salad,” says Donovan. Help with clean up too. (It burns calories.)

Fit In Fitness

“If your schedule is off because the kids are out of school, don’t forget how significant it can be to squeeze fitness into increments,” says Donovan. “Ten minutes in the morning, fifteen in the afternoon, a half-hour at night. It all adds up.”