Memorial day is synonymous with barbecue, overeating, gaining weight & food coma. This year, be smart and avoid putting on extra pounds, cholesterol, etc., with a few of these simple tips.

Drink a glass of lukewarm water before eating.
This will give you a sense of some fullness, so you won’t eat as much or too fast.

Start with eating veggies first.
Eat your salads and veggies first. They are filled with nutrients and fiber that will fill you up, so you won’t gorge on unhealthy foods like meats, chips and fried foods. Veggie kabobs and veggies burgers are good options. They are healthy, delicious and economical.

Reduce Eating Meat & Diversify
Reduce or avoid meat, which is known to increase heart disease and is a known carcinogen, especially when grilled and burnt. Instead, try seafood like shrimp, scallops, and/or fish. They are healthier, leaner, faster & easy to grill with less mess.

Swap Mayo for Vinegar
Swap mayo with brown rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar or even champagne vinegar and whole grain or dijon mustard. Vinegar also increases a feeling of fullness.Add some freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice, sea salt and ground pepper and voila! you have a delicious and healthy cole slaw, cucumber or potato salad, or even pasta salad without any unhealthy or weight gain consequences, and it’s so easy and inexpensive.

Grilled Corn
Sweet corn is delicious on its own. Instead of dousing it in butter, brush on a bit of organic extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil to keep all the juices in. You can also add spices, such as paprika, cumin, curry, or chili flakes or your favorite hot sauce for extra flavor and kick.  Corn is affordable, easy to prepare, and full of fiber and contains folate, thiamine, phosphorous and vitamin A.

Go baked, Not fried
Try baking chips or fries rather than deep frying. It’s not only a healthier option, but less calories, and so much easier without the oily mess. Toss your favorite potatoes, kale, etc., with some olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and throw it in the oven. Also, try substituting salt with a mix of garlic and spices such as curry, cumin, paprika, chili powder, etc.

No Bun Burger
To reduce calories and to avoid processed bleached flour based buns, try eating burgers without buns or wrapped in lettuce. It’s has a fresh, refreshing crunch, and it’s nutritious with hardly any calories. Magic! And instead of processed cheese, use grilled onion and slices of avocado for its buttery and creamy texture and taste. Your body and your pants will thank you.

Eat fruits first and then dessert.
You are likely to eat less cookies and cupcakes when you’ve had a few bites of seasonal strawberries, oranges, or peaches, etc. (yummy). They will give your body moisture and nutrients, so you can function and survive another holiday out in the sun with fun, rather than fat.

Drink water or a hot beverage before drinking.
Before drinking your favorite beer or cocktail, drink a glass of lukewarm water or hot tea, and you’ll drink less and have less regrets.

Move!
Don’t grow roots in your patio furniture. Get up and play with your kids, dogs, run around, throw frisbees, play volleyball, help out with cooking and cleaning up. Take a stroll in the park or the beach. Moving around will help you with digestion, circulation, and burn calories. You’ll also have more fun and your family and friends will be amazed.

If you’re a guest, try eating half a meal before you go to a party. You’ll be full enough to avoid stuffing yourself, but able to enjoy some foods. This is a good tip for eating out on any occasion. I do it often. Try it.

These tips can become a habit, not just for holidays, but for everyday eating. You can enjoy the holiday and not have any unhealthy consequences. Now, that’s a real holiday!

A Salute to Our Freedom Fighters
While you’re enjoying all the food, sun and fun, don’t forget to pay homage to all the brave souls, men, women, and dogs, who fought for our freedom, so we can be together with our family, safe and sound. Sadly, not everyone on the planet enjoys such a privilege. My own parents fled a war torn country to give their children a chance at freedom and liberty. We are always grateful. Thank you.

Happy Memorial Day!