…That’s more than a day and a half worth of recommended food intake for some in just ONE meal!
A study conducted by the Tony Ferguson Weightloss Programme found that Brits eat an astonishing average of 2,500 (for women) and 3,500 (for men) calories at a single barbecue meal. On top of this, people also exceed the daily salt limit by huge margins. The average study participant consumed roughly 12.1 grams of salt throughout the meal, while the US Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2.3 g per day! The survey also showed that 42% of people ate an average of 6 different meat items at each barbecue, which is a huge contributing factor to not only the high calorie and salt content.
People use the “special occasion” mindset during events like holidays and barbecues as an excuse to overeat, allowing them to over-indulge, which can lead to feelings of bloating, lethargy, and guilt. Additionally, barbecues are generally a few hours long, so the sheer time span of the event gives people more than enough time to graze and rack up their calorie count. Finally, people might feel that because they are a guest, they are obliged to taste a little bit of everything. Given the huge spread of food available, the calories and salt can really add up!
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to enjoy barbecues in a healthy way. Using smaller plates will help you take less food, and holding a drink at all times can ensure you won’t continually pick at appetizers throughout the day. Also, remember you don’t have to try absolutely everything–you were invited for your charming personality, not your ability to set the record for most hot dogs eaten. Instead, pick a few favorites and stick to those. Opt for fresh or grilled vegetables, lean sources of protein (like grilled chicken, shrimp, or fish), and yogurt- or vegetable-based dips. If you do choose to indulge, be sure to take a small portion.
Happy barbecuing, everyone!