Summer is here! The good news: a lot of us have been conscientious about our food choices leading up to bathing-suit season. The bad news: some of us do a lot of socializing in the summer and begin to get less conscientious. Don’t let the barbecue season send you astray—use it has an opportunity to eat all the wonderful foods summer has to offer.

Fire up the grill. Whoever said that men are king of the grill was mistaken. But if you choose not to do the actual grilling, at least get in on planning the menu.

  • Make skewers of shrimp marinated in olive oil and lemon with chunks of peppers, onions, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Ditch the fatty cuts of beef. Choose your favorite fish “steak” (salmon, halibut, or tuna) rubbed with a little olive oil and spices.
  • Soft-shell crabs are a quick and easy meal on the grill, versus the fried version you’d get at a restaurant. All they need are a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon or lime, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. They take around 5 minutes on each side.
  • As an alternative to the usual hamburger, try veggie, chicken or turkey burgers (white meat only). Top with tomato and sliced onion.
  • For some delicious veggies, slice zucchini and eggplant into large strips and lightly toss them in olive oil along with portobello mushrooms. Then just throw them on the grill.
  • Enjoy corn on the  cob, but go easy on the butter.

Going to a BBQ. Maybe your friends or family don’t always plan healthy menus. But that doesn’t have to be an excuse for eating poorly.

  • Have a light snack before you go, so you aren’t starved when you get there.
  • Ask your host if you can bring a green salad as a start to the meal.
  • Bring a healthy dessert of delicious, in-season berries.
  • If hot dogs and hamburgers are being served, choose one—not both—to enjoy.
  • Watch out for salads made with mayonnaise. Perhaps offer to bring a coleslaw made with vinegar and oil.
  • Ice cream for dessert? If you can stick to a half cup, go ahead and dig in your spoon. No reason to deprive yourself.

Stay hydrated. When the temperature begins to rise, so can your thirst.  It’s important in the hot months to drink up, but don’t overdo it with sugared beverages and high-calorie alcohol.

  • Water is always my Number One beverage of choice. With zero calories and flowing free from the tap, there’s no reason not to overindulge.
  • Love your iced coffee?  Make sure to limit the added sugar, syrup, or whole milk. You don’t want your cup of joe to become a dessert.
  • Pina coladas, strawberry daiquiris, and frozen margaritas are fine on occasion but not as your regular drink. If you want to keep feeling great right through to September, these sugar-and-alcohol bombs pack way too many calories.
  • For alcoholic beverages, white or rose wine, light beer, or even a vodka with seltzer could be your best bet—but don’t go overboard on those, either. They might be the best summer drinks calorie-wise, but too many of them still equal too many calories.
  • Alternate between sparkling water or seltzer and alcohol. The water helps quench your thirst so you don’t over-drink.

So eat (and drink) healthy this summer.  AND don’t forget to get some exercise and to wear sunscreen. The summer shouldn’t put weight on you—or wrinkles. Enjoy!

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