Although it occurs about a month before the first day of summer, for many people Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of summer and, of course, barbecue season! The warmer weather, good friends and good food always lead to a good time. All you need is a little outdoor space and a grill to get your party started.
The best thing about grilling or barbecue celebration is that it is extremely easy to stay on track with your Paleo lifestyle. All you have to do is say no to the bun and pile up on the fruits and veggies.
Often, this is easier said than done. It may all look great on paper, but these are often the aspects that trip people up and veer them far off from their Paleo plans. There is always that one friend (or two or three) that bring some delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies or that irresistible bag of crunchy snacks.
A summer barbecue need not be a stressful time. You should be able to enjoy yourself without guilt or anxiety attached. A few considerations before hosting or hitting the party will go a long way in setting you up for success.
It is important to have a plan worked out before the party gets started. As the saying goes, fail to plan, plan to fail. Before going, inquire about the type of gathering (food provided or potluck) and the food options that will be on offer. This way you can be better prepared and know what to expect. This will also help you get a better idea of what you can bring (if it is a potluck style gathering) or, you could offer to make a dish as a gift for your host.
If it is a potluck-type event where you can bring your own dish, or even your own foods, you are in complete control of what items you bring for yourself and to share. You can plan out a dish to make and bring a dish or two in line with your preferences and goals.
If you are attending a gathering where food is already provided, have a snack or small meal before going. This way you will have had something to hold you over and not have the temptation to pick at unhealthy options.
It is important to be prepared for a number of situations. If you know some healthy options may be available at a potluck, you might still want to make/bring your own. This will ensure that you have an option you can count on. If you know that there will not be anything available for you and you are not able to bring a dish, have a small meal before or bring a snack with you in the case you get hungry. Paleo-friendly on-the-go options like jerky and nuts work well for these types of situations
Simply because a dish is made with Paleo friendly ingredients does not automatically imply you can eat as much of it as you want without having to consider its impact on your body. Nuts and seeds are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. However, they are calorically dense and very easy to overeat. These foods are used often in Paleo recipes in replace of wheat and other flours to mimic non-Paleo foods including breads/dough, muffins, cookies, snacks and desserts. These may be healthier options, but a treat is still a treat, regardless of the ingredients used and a sense of awareness when eating them is still necessary. It is important to be mindful of portion sizes for food items like these and use moderation when it comes to how much you are eating.
It helps to plan beforehand and decide whether you will be indulging in some foods or drinks, and stick to your plan!
Own your choices and embrace your Paleo lifestyle. There is no need to apologize for what you do or who you are. This includes sticking to your food choices. Fear of what people may think of you bringing a Paleo dish or you sticking to Paleo options is unnecessary. Do your best to keep the reasons for your goals and choices in mind and change what you do.
Don’t let your first summer barbecue become a time of stress. Food should not be the center of attention or be the cause of unnecessary anxiety. Enjoy the time with your friends and family and be mindful of your choices.
Whether attending or hosting your Memorial Day bash, here are a few of our favorite recipes to make or bring along
Garlicky Bacon-Avocado Burgers
Grilled Salmon with Chipotle Butter