It’s summertime and the eating is easy—too easy. We’ve been experiencing decent weather and, my God, have we been making the most of it!

This Saturday, the Average Joe’s family got together to enjoy a few beers, burgers and some top quality banter. Disclaimer: the food choices could of been healthier! So for future reference, here are seven quick fixes for smart eating this summer:

1. Contribute something that’s good for you.

If you bring a healthy dish along, you know that you’ll be able to get something nutritious in, no matter how decadent all the other offerings are. Here are some perfect summer ‘potluck’ recipes to bring to the picnic.

2. Pay attention to portions.

Use these 3 memorable points of reference:

  • A tennis ball or clenched fist = about 1 cup. This measure is useful for scoopable sides (think: potato, pasta and bean salads). If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, aim for 1 cup total of these starchy side dishes.
  • Your mobile phone = about 3 ounces meat. This measure comes is useful for steak, chicken and fish.

  • Your thumb = about 1 tablespoon. This measure comes in handy when you’re trying to estimate dressing or a spread. Most full-fat salad dressings have 50 to 100 calories per tablespoon! Creamy ones fall toward the higher end; mayo (at 100 calories per tablespoon) is another one to watch.

3. Fill up on vegetables first.

Eat loads of green salad—with a couple of tablespoons of dressing, preferably one that’s lower in fat (like balsamic vinegar or try Jamie Oliver’s zero fat salad dressing). Crunch on the crudités instead of crisps and GO EASY on the dips!

4. Have a little lean protein.

Studies show that, gram for gram, lean proteins help you to feel fuller than carbohydrates or fats, so enjoy a little bit of what’s grilling: a lean-beef burger, a piece of chicken or fish. If you’re big on flavour, try using a simple dry spice rub (try Tesco’s). Aim for about 3 ounces, which is about the size of your mobile phone or a deck of cards.

5. Don’t go crazy with starchy carbs.

If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, limit yourself to 1 cup of starchy side dishes, such as potato, pasta and those delicious bean salads.

6. “Prioritise” your favorite food.

If you’re dying for a big cheeseburger, get in line, but stick with a green salad or grilled vegetables as sides. Not so big on buns? Go for grilled chicken or fish on top of greens and spend that starch serving on a scoop of the creamy potato salad.

7. When you’re finished, go play.

Start tossing a ball with the kids. No need to jump around like a fool to “burn off” dinner; but the point is to pull yourself away from grazing.

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