For most, Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer activities and the beginning of fall events. It is often a weekend of fun, family and picnics. If you are aiming to stay on your Fat Burning Machine track, here are a few tips that can help keep you happy and in control.
Labor Day Barbecue Tips
Look at your fist before filling your plate
Did you know your stomach is about the size of your fist? Your stomach does have the ability to stretch to about 40 times the size of your fist in order to accommodate large fluid and food intakes. Decide right now that you do not aim to test the limits. As you fill your plate, glance at our fist as a reference. Imagine when the food on your plate is all chewed up, how big will your stomach be? Will this be a two-, three- or four-fist meal?
Slow down to stimulate PYY
There is a hormone, peptide YY (PYY), that gets released by your small intestine while you are eating. It slows gastric emptying and reduces appetite by causing a sense of satisfaction. Because it takes about 20 minutes after you begin eating to be released, eating slowly and chewing your food well gives PYY a chance to get activated.
Taste the food
While you slow down and chew your food, take notice of the five basic flavors. Let your tongue sense bitter, sour, salty, sweet and “umami.” Umami is often left off of the tongue sensing charts because it is hard to describe. These foods induce salivation and stimulate the throat and the back of the mouth. Foods in this category include meats, cheeses, cured meats, mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, spinach, fish sauce and soy sauce. Tasting food is part of meal satisfaction.
Choose grilled meats
When you are looking at the protein options, choose grilled meat, fish, chicken or pork, if possible. If you choose a burger or a bratwurst, eat only half of the bun. Skip the sloppy Joe’s or barbecue sauce soaked and shredded meats. Many of the sauces for these options are loaded with added sugars.
Skip the sweet pickle relish
One tablespoon of sweet pickle relish contains a teaspoon of sugar. It is easy to eat three or more teaspoons of added sugar on your hamburger or hot dog if you add pickle relish.
Choose cucumber and tomato salads – cautiously
Often, the fresh tomato and cucumber salads are made with oil and vinegar, sour cream or whole buttermilk. These are all excellent fat-burning options. There are, however, recipes that have added sugar. You can ask the host if the salad has added sugar. If that isn’t possible, take a small sample on your plate. You can always come back for more later, if you are still hungry.
If you don’t like something on your plate or you are getting full, there is no obligation to anyone to remain part of the clean plate club. Leave it on your plate.
A bite is eating
If you are “taking a bite” of something – you are eating. Taking bites of other people’s food is a trap. You lose track of the volume of food you are consuming and it is easy to overconsume sugar and highly refined carbohydrates by taking “just a bite.” Eat what is on your plate and eat nothing from another person’s plate, fork or hand.
Drain the beans
Baked beans often have three or more teaspoons of added sugar in a half-cup of beans. If you love grandma’s baked beans, take a serving and let most of the sauce drain off. Leave the sauce on your plate and enjoy the flavorful beans, cutting your sugar consumption significantly.
Sharing food with family and friends should be an enjoyable experience. A celebration of life and health. Be sure to enjoy the people attending the party as much, or more, than the food.