Holiday parties and events are opportunities to be social! To let loose and HAVE FUN! There was a time in my life where I thought these events were based on the food alone. That it was the food that brought us together. But in reality it’s not about the food at all. I mean it is a little, because food. BUT really we come together to share special moments and make memories with close friends, family and co-workers. Don’t let the food distract you from these rare opportunities. With little preparation and planning you can make healthy food choices that won’t derail your healthy habits!
If you’re a guest at an upcoming party or event, here are a few tips to help you conquer your next get together….
1. Don’t arrive hungry! Everything looks good when you’re starving. Even Aunt Helens fruit cake. Yikes! Hunger can make it sometimes impossible to make good food choices. Set yourself up to succeed. Have some soup or broth, a handful of nuts, water or an apple before arriving to take the edge off. Try not to “save” all your calories for the party. So many times I’ve done this in the past. Let’s be honest, we all have right? Telling yourself to eat light throughout the day so you can justify a large treat meal. Then you arrive starving and any chance of sticking to a healthy diet flies out the window! We train our bodies to eat three meals and a couple snacks a day. Don’t alter that for a treat day. Eat your meals leading up to an event, make them smaller with lots of veggies and more protein packed if you need to. You’re far more likely to make better food choices if your brain isn’t screaming “FEEEEED MEEEEE”!!!!
2. Scope out the spread. Take a walk around the table or buffet to see what food is being offered. Before you even pick up a plate make note of the healthier options available. Treat meals are meant to enjoy foods you don’t eat on a day to day basis, so go ahead and indulge. You deserve it! But indulge in a way that your body won’t resent you. You know, try to avoid the cramping over in fetal position “Why did I eat that” aftermath. Offer to bring a veggie tray or salad to ensure a healthy option for yourself.
3. Fill your plate 3/4 of the way full with fruits and veggies, then choose proteins and healthy fats to round out your meal. Limit yourself to one trip, if you’re still hungry grab some raw veggies or fruit. You know from the veggie tray your offered to bring. Win!
4. Savor your meal. We tend to eat our treat meals quickly because they are so anticipated. Take smaller bites. Use a teaspoon rather than a tablespoon. The first three bîtes are always the most satisfying, so take smaller portions of those foods which you choose to indulge in. Studies show that the chemicals in the brain signaling “pleasure” receive less pleasure the longer we eat a certain food. So rather than feeling like you need a full serving of every dessert at the dessert table, take a bite size portion of each and receive 90% of the pleasure with only 10% of the calories! BOOM!
5. Lastly if your family is anything like mine, we love a good chat session. Remove yourself from the food table and have a seat where you’re not as likely to reach over and grab a handful of nuts or candy. Over time three handfuls lead to 13 and the calories add up…. fast!