The kids are out of school and we’re just getting into the season of barbecues, weddings, pool parties, and cottage weekends. It can be a little challenging when you’re watching what you eat (and drink), yet want to be social and partake in all the tempting food that might not always be the healthiest.
You might worry that you won’t be able to have as much fun or that there won’t be anything there for you to eat. Or maybe you know there won’t be anything healthy there for you to eat but still want to go. Well, don’t worry, because you definitely should go, but go prepared so you can enjoy yourself.
Watch Portion Sizes
You don’t have to deny yourself at a barbecue, but do watch how much you put on your plate. If you want some pasta, potato or bean salad, go for no more than about a cup of it. That’s about the size of a tennis ball, so you can visualize what that amount is. Yes, it’s likely less than what you want, but that is a serving size. There will be other things you can put on your plate such as raw or grilled veggies, and hopefully leafy green salad. Lean protein, such as chicken, beef or fish, will help fill you up, and a serving is about the size of your palm. If you see dinner plates and salad plates, go for the salad plate which will also help you keep portions in check.
Bring a Healthy Dish
Make something to bring with you so you know you’ll have a healthy option to eat. It will also provide something for others to try, and who knows, they might ask you for the recipe. Attending a more formal event like a wedding at a banquet hall? You likely won’t be bringing a dish to that, but you can prepare beforehand by eating a snack with protein and fibre. Also make sure you’re well hydrated before you get there since thirst is often mistaken for hunger. If it is buffet style, look at all the dishes first and decide which ones you want. Think of it as a variety of food to choose from rather than an all-you-can-eat thing. Resist going up for seconds (or thirds).
Have an Open Bar Plan
So the event is open bar and you’re dreading that because you feel that you can’t indulge or you’re afraid you’ll go crazy? No worries. If you want a drink or two, you can keep yourself from overdoing it by drinking a full glass of water in between alcoholic beverages, and by sticking to wine or vodka, gin, or whiskey without the sugary pop or juice mixers. Drink slowly even if you hear comments that you’re “nursing” your drink, which you probably will. That’s okay, because you can still enjoy it without going overboard.
Eat Guilt Free
Remember that you’re there to socialize with others and enjoy yourself. I don't mean you should eat everything in sight without guilt, but if you are tempted to have some desserts you don’t usually have or choose food you told yourself you would avoid, eat slowly, savour it, and try not to stress out. It’s not a reason to throw everything out the window, nor is it a reason to beat yourself up for the rest of the night. Share a dessert with a friend, drink a glass of water, and vow to make healthier choices the next day.
You don’t have to decline summer social events for fear of totally going off your plan. There might be more temptation at these events, but with a little planning and keeping your goals in mind, you can go and enjoy the summer festivities.
Images courtesy of boulemonademoon and photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net