Healthy Trade-Offs for Your Favorite Outdoor Meals

Beautiful weather, friends and family, delicious food – it’s hard not to love a picnic! But special get-togethers like these can often mean calorie-rich treats. Before you head to your next cookout, remember to choose mindfully. A typical picnic plate, like the one pictured below, can easily be over 1,000 calories. TOPS Club, Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers the following tips for making the most of your picnic plate – the healthy way.

• If you plan to enjoy treats like brownies or potato chips, skip the bun for your burger.
• Make half of your plate vegetables and fruit.
• In general, plates filled with more colorful choices tend to be more nutritious and have fewer calories.
• Portion size matters: 1 cup of mayonnaise-based potato salad has more than 350 calories. Aim for ½ cup, which is about the same size as ½ of an apple.
• Try grilling fruit as a sweet and tasty treat.
• Beer and cocktails can add hundreds of extra calories and may make you more likely to indulge in extra calorie-rich treats. Opt for unsweetened iced tea or water with cucumber slices and basil.
• Many people tend to eat a little more during special gatherings, and it’s important to balance your calories for the rest of the day (by eating a lighter breakfast, for instance).
• Enjoy your plate, but focus on the good company around you instead of the food.

Make better choices when filling your plate; these healthy trade-offs are simple switches.

"Making Your Picnic Plate Great"The Not-So-Great Plate:
12 oz. can of light beer
4 oz. cheeseburger with ketchup
1 c. potato salad
5 oz. corn on the cob with 1 tbsp. butter
1 oz. potato chips
1 med. (3 in. x 3 in.) brownie
= about 1,400 calories



"Healthy Trade-Offs for Your Favorite Outdoor Meals"TOPS’ Healthier Picnic Plate:
Glass of unsweetened iced tea
4 oz. hamburger, no bun, topped with ketchup and mustard drizzle and 2 pickle coins
½ c. potato salad
salad greens
1 ¼ c. watermelon cubes
1 small (2 in. x 2 in.) unfrosted brownie
= about 640 calories

TOPS Club Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 66 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise and wellness information. TOPS has more than 125,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To find a local chapter, view or call (800) 932-8677 .