Here’s a few tips so that come July 5th, you are not regretting choices made at that July 4th BBQ…

Before entering a BBQ or party, take a few seconds to focus upon what you want – probably to enjoy yourself and go home full of good memories, not potato salad. Remind yourself that you are there to have fun with friends and family, not eat and drink things you will regret tomorrow. Put into your mind the foods you will enjoy – veggies and lean proteins, and assume the belief that things like mayo and cake are simply décor, toxic to eat, and easy to avoid.

During grazing time (you know social time when appetizers, chips, munchies tempt) nibble on apple or veggies. And keep your hands occupied with a glass of bubbly water – any time you feel your hand straying to the guacamole and chips, take a sip.

BYOeverything! Unless a host would be hurt, bring your own healthy snacks. Remove skins from your portion of healthily marinated chicken for the grill – and make sure the grill-master does not layer it with 600-calorie sauce. Bring a package of low-calorie frozen fruit pops to share.

Watch your alcohol – not only will tipsiness make you more likely to eat things you will regret, but it has tons of calories, and it can dehydrate, which is often mistaken for hunger, causing you to eat more.

That being said, drink a lot of water to make you feel full and to keep you hydrated and healthy. To help you feel festive and part of the celebrations, add a bit of lime, or a drop of food-grade essential oil (like grapefruit), and serve it in a wine or margarita glass on the rocks.

Don’t deprive yourself – pick your one favorite item and enjoy that. For example, if you love burgers, make a small, bun-less burger with healthy sides and toppings.

And most importantly – forget the food factor and focus on the fun – play with the kids, socialize, become the event recorder and shoot photos or video, get a Frisbee circle going, challenge your friends to bocce ball, horseshoes, or croquet, and get in the pool! You’ll burn calories, rather than consume them, and go home full of memories, not potato salad.

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We’d love to hear from you, so please comment if you have another BBQ diet tip.

We wish you a happy and healthy Independence Day!