When in Rome…or a BBQ fest in Chicago

The Windy City Smoke out happened last weekend in Chicago. A 3-day country concert and BBQ fest with, you guessed it: nothing but BBQ, and lots of it. Sounds like a lot of fun, and it definitely was, but being a dietitian at an event like this can be tricky!

So, instead of stressing about the food not being “healthy”, I went for it. I enjoyed the day, the food, and the company and went home smiling rather than feeling guilty. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was aware that this is not the type of food I normally eat, but by preparing myself and making little choices throughout the day, I never felt like I had “failed” myself.

How does a dietitian do a BBQ fest?
1. 75 minute workout at 7:30am (a little longer than the usual 60)
2. A light breakfast (1 scrambled egg with 1 piece of whole wheat toast and hot sauce)
4. Parking the car over half a mile from the event and walking there and back
5. Sharing dishes with someone to get a taste of everything without eating all of everything. We shared: a pulled pork sandwich, BBQ cheddar fries, and smoked chicken wings
6. Being picky with the side dishes/snacks (watermelon slice and a light bean and corn salad with tomato, and cucumber)
8. Dancing! It was a concert, for goodness sake, so why not burn a few Calories while listening.
9. Check blood sugars more often (the heat, BBQ sauce, starchy side dishes, sun, alcohol, and just being in a new environment can all affect blood sugar, so I knew it could be a crazy day)
10. LOTS OF WATER, and a snack (carrots and celery with humus) when we got home, rather than a full dinner.

Fun days and events don’t have to “ruin” anything and should be included in a healthy lifestyle! It’s just as important to laugh and smile and be with our friends and family as it is to know how to balance what we eat. So, yes, I am a dietitian; and, yes, I have type I diabetes; and, believe it or not, I went to an all day BBQ fest and ate lots of different foods without feeling bad about it after! What festivals are you visiting this summer? How will you prepare for days like this?


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