What to Eat at a BBQ or Picnic When You’re Trying to Lose Weight

I hope you’re surviving the heat, it’s been up to 100 degrees here in NYC. You may have a lot of outdoor events like BBQs, picnics, and festivals to go to. Here’s how to eat summer food and still lose weight.


At outdoor events like BBQs, water is your best option. After that beer, wine or diet soda, are your best options because they have little to no sugar. Lemonade, sangria, and anything fruity will usually have a lot of sugar in it. Although it tastes like it would be healthy because there’s fruit involved, it’s not. Also, watch out for ciders as they may have sugar in them as well.


Your best option is green vegetables like kale salads, grilled asparagus, etc. Avoid anything creamy like potato salads, coleslaw, and spinach and artichoke dip. These usually have mayo or cheese in them which can be high in saturated fat which will not help you lose weight.

The next best options are corn tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole, corn on the cob, and roasted potatoes. Corn and potato are about equal, they’re both moderate range in the glycemic index assuming they’re prepared the same way. Because they’re moderate glycemic index they’re so-so for losing weight, so it’s important not to overeat them. Try to stick to one serving, which is roughly what you can fit in one hand.

The worst thing is cheese dip because it’s high in saturated fat and there are no vegetable benefits. Although I love cheese dip, there’s not really anything redeeming about it, so stay away from it if you’re trying to lose weight.

From the Grill

At BBQs kebabs and skewers, vegetable or meat, are the best options. They’re grilled, and there are no bread products involved. This isn’t a no carb diet, but realistically you’ll probably get enough carbs from snacking and dessert that you should try to skip carbs with the main meal.

Hot dogs, veggie burgers, and meat burgers are only a good option if you can eat them without the bun. Buns generally are made from white bread and high in glycemic index, so eating them won’t help you lose weight. Skipping the bun can be hard to do if you’re standing and eating and depending on your utensil situation this may not be possible. But if you can skip the bread than this could be a good option too.

As condiments go try to switch out sweet condiments, like ketchup. Instead use regular mustard, Tabasco sauce, or Cholula Hot Sauce. Sriracha depends on the manufacturer, some bottles say no sugar, some say they have 1 gram of sugar per serving, but it’s still usually less than ketchup (4 grams of sugar per serving in Heinz). If you’re having sugar, you shouldn’t waste it on ketchup it’s just a condiment, it’s not worth it, save it for dessert.


Fresh fruit obviously and also if it’s available. At BBQs and other outdoor events, you’ll usually want something cold for dessert. The next best option is fruit popsicles which have sugar but typically little to no saturated fat.

Plain gelato is probably your next best option as it usually has less saturated fat than ice cream.  However, once you add baked products like cookies, to it this usually adds saturated fat, so gelato without any add-ins is best. Ice cream, pies, and cake are all generally high in sugar and saturated fat, so avoid them.

If you want to lose weight, you have to make changes somewhere, and dessert is one of the best places because you can cut sugar and saturated fat by switching your dessert.

Hope you have a week filled with healthy food choices!

Want to lose weight with science-backed advice? Get my free guide Lose Weight Without Cooking or Calorie Counting and start losing weight this month.
P.S. Wondering what the Nordic Diet is? Watch my one minute recap here.


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