American culture revolves around food. You can’t watch TV without seeing food commercials. Work events often offer bagels or snacks. When friends get together, they go out for dinner or drinks. Because most of the standard American diet is processed food, it can be hard to stick to a healthy food plan at social events. Instead of trying to avoid social events, try some of these tips to make your next gathering a little healthier.
Bring a healthy option. If you are supposed to bring something to your next party, volunteer to bring a healthy dish that includes lots of veggies! Creamed kale, mashed cauliflower, or chived bean and potato salad are delicious side dishes. And hummus and veggies makes a great appetizer.
Don’t drink your calories. When it comes to nutrient-dense, healthy eating, you want to get the most nutrients per calorie -- and generally they don’t come in liquid form. While you don’t have to resign yourself to water all the time, sodas, sugary drinks, and alcohol can all up your calorie intake without giving your body health-promoting nutrients.
Keep track of what you eat (write it down!). If you don’t have a structured healthy eating plan, it can be easy to lose track of what you actually eat -- especially at social events. By forcing yourself to record what you eat, you’ll be more conscious while you are eating. It will be harder to make excuses or tell yourself you didn’t really eat that much mac and cheese.
Strategically position yourself. As a kid, I always loved having the bread bowl placed right in front of me at big family gatherings -- it made it easy to get the “best” pieces first and come back for seconds. Don’t willingly put temptation right in front of you in the form of a bread bowl or dessert tray. Pick a seat away from the foods that will tempt you the most. If you make it even just a little harder to get those foods, you’ll be less likely to indulge.
Eat a healthy snack beforehand. If you really aren’t sure that there will be any healthy options and you can’t bring your own food, fill up on fruits and vegetables before the event. If you are already full (or mostly full), it will be easier to resist the urge to eat large amounts of unhealthy foods.
What tips or tricks do you use to stick with your healthy eating plan? Let us know in the comments below!