Need to know what to eat? Nutritionist Kristen Ciuba can help.

Help! I’ve been invited to several Fourth of July barbecues. How can I enjoy the festivities and food without sabotaging my weight-loss efforts?

SUMMER CELEBRATIONS NEED NOT be detrimental to dieting. Follow a few of these tips and you’ll be ready to hit the beach once the fireworks are over.

First, bring your own healthy dish to share. Whip up a whole-wheat pasta salad with veggies, or dice up some summer fruit for a refreshing salad. Your host will thank you! Along with fruits and veggies, seek out healthful proteins at the party — that’ll satisfy hunger and get your metabolism moving. Choose grilled chicken breast or lean steak, and shy away from sausages and burgers, which are loaded with unhealthy fats.

And, finally, watch the calories in your beverages. Research shows that, unlike those in food, calories consumed as beverages don’t register with the brain to create a feeling of fullness. Choose water, sparkling water, diet soda or another low-cal drink, like unsweetened iced tea. If you imbibe, a light beer or glass of wine is your best bet.

Kristen Ciuba, MS, is the nutritionist at Results the Gym in Washington. She also implements corporate nutrition programs for local companies. E-mail her at

Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post