Have you ever worked extremely hard to eat healthy, follow a balanced diet, and feel like you are beginning to see results, and then all confidence in yourself slowly diminishes as you walk into a party where dessert, party foods, and alcoholic beverages surround you in excess. I bet a few of these statements happened to cross your mind at this time…
_________ is going to be offended if I don’t try her food. Guess the diet will have to take a halt today.
Boy a margarita looks good, but everyone seems like they have already had 2 or 3. I can either play catch up or be the odd man (or woman) out.
The desserts look fantastic. I haven’t had a cupcake in weeks… maybe I’ll have just one. And I’ll try _______’s homemade cookies too, they were always my favorite. Maybe I should grab a plate of fruit… that way I’m not totally cheating right?
I could just make a dish of what I brought. Do you think anyone will notice if I don’t have anything else?
Salad…. or burger? Ugh, I guess its salad.
It is time to put a stop to the stress and food-brain madness. There will always be temptations, and you will always feel like there is no way this can work out ok without sending your food belly over the edge, but I am telling you that you can have it all. You can enjoy yourself for the day without totally throwing all your hard work down the drain and feel like you are having just as much fun as everyone else there. Just follow a few of these quick, easy tips to partying properly and you will no longer feel like the party pooper, but rather a party participant!
Happy Party Participants…
1. When you first get there, take a lap around the food table. what strikes your eye first? A juicy burger with all the toppings? A scoop of that decadent potato salad? Mrs. Smith’s ooey gooey 4 cheese spinach and artichoke dip with bacon bits? What do you really want? Once you have made this decision, grab a plate and fill 3/4th of it with with fruit, veggies, or a combo of the 2. Most barbecues, graduation parties, or simple summer get togethers will have some sort of fruit tray, veggies and dip, or salad to choose from. Let this consume the majority of your plate, then allow yourself your indulgent item. If it’s the burger, save yourself 60-80 calories but only using 1/2 of the bun. If it’s the dips, choose celery sticks or pretzel crisps over pita or tortilla chips to do the dipping. If it’s the potato salad, take 1 leveled scoop. Whatever you are really craving, allow yourself to have it. If you don’t, you are just going to be thinking about it for the rest of the party and how you wish you had taken it (and that isn’t any way to help your party mood!). Once you have filled your plate, take a seat and eat your veggies, salad, or fruit first. Veggies and fruit both contain fiber and many have a high percentage of water. In combination, these items will begin to make you feel a little full, even before you have gotten to your special item. Once you have had your fill (including your special item), STOP. Don’t over-stuff yourself. Leave yourself some room so that you can enjoy a special treat from the dessert table a little later.
Don’t think this will work for you? If you aren’t a fruit or veggie lover, fine. Take your burger, potato salad, or dip and enjoy, BUT leave at least 3 bites left on your plate. Sounds silly right? Well, those 3 bites will save you calories in the end. Saving a little is better then nothing right?
2. When choosing alcoholic beverages, don’t worry about only having 1 or 2. No one will notice, I promise, as long as that drink is in your hand. If everyone around you is on their 4th or 5th drink, I’m guessing they think you probably are too. If someone offers to get you one, politely decline and say you will grab one in a minute after you finish your conversation with so and so. And don’t forget, have a glass of water in between each drink to help flush out your system and keep you on your toes!
3. Mixers can make or break your beverage. Most common mixers such as juices, margarita mix, sour mix, or sodas contain calories. Aside from the calories that you are getting from the alcohol, you are often adding anywhere from 80-300 calories per drink in mixers. Let the alcohol shine here. If you are a liquor person, choose mixers that are between 0-50 calories per serving, such as club soda, water with a splash of lime or lemon juice, seltzer water, fruit flavored water or seltzer, or if it is already flavored, add a bunch of ice and that is it. Keep in mind, adding ice in general adds volume to your drink, so if someone thinks you are being skimpy, add a few ice cubes and suddenly your beverage has doubled in size. If you enjoy a nice glass of white wine, try a wine spritzer instead with half club soda and half a white wine of your choice. If you are a beer drinker, either choose a lighter beer or choose whichever beer your prefer and leave 2-3 sips in the bottom of each beer (just make sure to dispose of it before someone sees!). As a general rule of thumb, keep it to 1-2 drinks and spread it out throughout your time there! If you are driving, you shouldn’t be indulging in alcoholic beverages anyway!
4. When it comes to desserts, sharing is key. If you have come with a group of friends or a significant other and have a few different desserts that you would like to try, ask someone if they would like to share with you. Make a plate of 3-4 or your favorite items, then split them! This way, instead of feeling overly stuffed after 1 cookie, a piece of fruit pie, and a cupcake, you feel a little lighter and have only consumed 1/2 the calories. I practice this concept all the time (just ask my boyfriend; he’s always my sharing buddy!).
5. I think this is the most meaningful tip that I can give. Stop the worrying! If you think everyone is watching your every move, I promise they are not. No one will notice if your don’t take that extra helping of pasta salad, or if you go back for seconds on veggies rather than dips. You should be proud of your efforts! And always remember….it is your body, so it is you who makes the decisions on what goes into it; not everyone else!