I have recently been asked similar questions by various people:
- How do you watch what you eat when you are always out for business lunches?
- I have a lot of weddings and events coming up this summer. How do I attend and not ruin my diet?
- How do you go to The Marq and not over-do it? The food there is awesome!
Sound familiar? You are not alone! The summer is a highly social time of year. And summer events and gatherings are meant to be fun, memorable experiences. However, it’s no secret that the buffets, drinks, and desserts are not always the healthiest options–although they might be delicious. Here are a few simple ideas to keep you from overindulging.
1. Don’t arrive hungry.
If you arrive hungry, you will be tempted to over-indulge on anything that is served. Be sure to eat breakfast and all other meals as usual the day of the event, and grab a snack before you go. Even if you are getting ready to attend a business lunch, simply taking the edge off of your hunger will help you to make better choices at the table – so have a “pre-meal snack” half-hour before lunch. A general rule of thumb is to keep the snack between 100-200 calories. Here are some snack suggestions:
- An apple + 1 oz nut butter or 1 oz walnuts
- Baby carrots, celery sticks, cauliflower or broccoli florets + 1 Tbsp ranch dip or 2 Tbsp Hummus
- 1 cup strawberries + 1 cup low fat yogurt
- Greek yogurt
- Half a sandwich or pita pocket filled with hummus, lean meat, spinach or lettuce, tomato, and any other veggies you like
2. Scope out the buffet line before you begin serving yourself.
This is a common mistake people make. We take off down the buffet line and start grabbing what we know we like. Often times we end up with a plate full of fluff or pasta salads, slaws, and breads, all before we get to the entrees! Take time to glance at all that is available, then return to the beginning of the line to begin dishing your plate. The next step is to then fill your plate with fruits and vegetables or undressed salad if they’re offered. Also looked for grilled items like chicken or seafood.
3. Have your cake and eat it too!
The desserts are sometimes irresistible at events or luncheons, so don’t deprive yourself! Share a slice with a friend or two (depending on the size of the dessert). If it is not appropriate to share, cut the piece in half prior to your first bite; only allow yourself a portion of the dessert. Take your time and really enjoy the first two bites–they are the best ones!
4. Remember that alcohol contains calories too!
Go to events with a limit in mind, setting that limit most often at one drink, two at the max. Alcohol contains quite a few calories. These calories are absorbed very quickly and will not stay in your stomach long enough to fill you up. In addition, alcohol stimulates appetite and impairs decision-making. This can be a triple-whammy for some, which may lead to unintentionally sabotaging your daily caloric intake.
5. Be the life of the party!
Does this event have a dance floor? Dancing is fun, it burns calories, and keeps you away from the buffet or dessert tables too!
At luncheons, be sure to park as far away as possible. Also, strive to get 30-60 minutes of activity in most days of the week.
Finally, remember to have fun, whatever it is that you are doing! That always makes everything much more enjoyable!