Great Gut Blog

Four Tips For a Gut-Friendly Fourth of July (or any summer barbecue!)

Posted by Brad Dennis, Ph.D. on

Four Tips For a Gut-Friendly Fourth of July (or any summer barbecue!)

For us Americans, the Fourth is almost here! Time for a few tips to help ensure your tummy is able to enjoy the holiday, too!

  1. Don’t Overeat

Sensitive stomachs don’t react well to being over-stuffed with food, even if the foods are healthy. Stomach distress from overeating will only be compounded if it’s the unhealthier options often found at summer parties and barbecues that you’re stuffing into your stomach. This is especially true if you’ve eliminated unhealthy foods from your diet – your body becomes less able to handle and digest them (you may have noticed this the first time you had fast food after months or having none: your stomach probably wasn’t very happy after that “happy meal.”)

Don’t pile the food on your plate! Take smaller portions and eat slowly.

  1. Bring Your Own

Many summer barbecues are potlucks. You can use this to your advantage by bringing healthier, gut-friendly options that 1) you know you like to eat and 2) that will actually fill you up and satisfy you so you won’t be hungry and trawling the food table to be tempted by food that will make your stomach unhappy later. One option that I recommend and always find is welcome at summer parties is a big salad, packed with veggies (add some chopped apples, too) – it’s healthy, simple and easy to prepare, and will give you the dietary fiber needed to help your gut deal with the extra strain of digesting less-healthier BBQ options.

Bring Your Own is also true of drinks. Bring bottled water to help you avoid drinking too many sugary sodas. It’ll also help keep you properly hydrated, which is a bonus!

  1. Indulge a Little

It’s OK to relax and indulge a little bit. You don’t want to go to a party and be so restrictive and hard on yourself that you can’t enjoy it. The trick is to indulge in moderation (I know, that sounds odd). For example, if you know you’re really wanting to eat a hamburger or a slice of Aunt Suzy’s amazing cake, go ahead – but don’t also eat a big pile of potato chips, a hotdog, potato salad, and fried chicken. Look at the offerings on the table and decide which ones you really want to indulge in and leave the rest behind.

  1. Avoid Your Weakness

Most of us have at least one unhealthy food that is our Achilles heel – we have a very hard time staying in the moderation zone when it comes to eating it. In this case, it may be better to avoid it altogether instead of setting off the potential to overeat. So if potato chips are your weakness, consider passing them by altogether to avoid triggering a desire to eat too much.

Summer barbecues are supposed to be fun – remember to think about your food choices and follow the tips above to make sure your stomach has as much fun as the rest of you!


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