Summertime is the season of BBQs. With July 4th coming up we wanted to share a few tips on how to enjoy a party and stay on track with your health goals. Keep in mind that you don’t need to sacrifice one for the other. Here are 7 tips:

1. Don’t save room for the party. Waiting to eat until the party is not a good strategy because it can lead to overeating. Instead have a light snack before you go, such as a piece of fruit or a hard-boiled egg.

2. BYOV (bring your own veggies). Volunteer to bring the veggie tray or a veggie-heavy side dish. Not only will you be looking out for yourself, but the host and other guests will thank you.

3. If possible choose fish or chicken over beef. Fish is a great protein for grilling, and it has omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fat than traditional barbecue meats.

4. Balance your plate: Draw an imaginary line on your plate and fill half of it with non-starchy veggies (such as leafy greens) and divide the other half between a starchy carb and a protein. When it comes to the starchy carb, choose between a side such as corn, or potatoes, or a bun (opt for whole grain if available). Ten to fifteen minutes after eating, if you still feel hungry, go back for seconds (aim to have more of the veggies or one of the leaner protein options).

5. Choose condiments and toppings wisely. Opt for mustard over ketchup or mayo for less added sugars and saturated fat. Try topping your burger with fresh vegetables or avocado instead of cheese.

6. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, stick to 1-2 drinks max, and drink water in between each drink to stay hydrated, especially if spending the day outside in the hot sun.

7. At dessert time take advantage of the summer season and enjoy some fresh fruit. Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are festive staple dessert ingredients at any 4th of July party (another idea if you’re not sure what to bring to the party).