Just as you’ve recovered from the cookie swaps, parties, and potlucks of the winter holidays, here comes Party Season, The Sequel. In May and June you’re likely to find yourself inundated with invitations to wedding celebrations and graduation parties, with maybe a baby shower thrown in the mix. You have the drill down; grab a gift, put on your party clothes that fit juuuust right (thank you, FIT36!), and show up for a little socializing, a few games, and the FOOD.
Eating at parties can feel like you’re tiptoeing around a minefield of health nightmares. Fried chicken, heavy potato salads, the dish of cheese and butter cleverly disguised as a vegetable casserole, and, the mother of all party food: the cake. So what’s a health-conscious party guest to do? Dive face-first into a plate of macaroni and cheese and call it a day? Nope - we’ve got your Summer Party Survival Guide. Because you don’t what to be “that guy” who walks around with a celery stick and some lemon water.
Summer Party Survival Guide:
- Offer to bring a dish to share. Not only does this score points with the host, but you’ll be certain to have a healthy option to eat at the party. Find some inspiration here: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy/quick-easy-side-dish-recipes
- Eat up at home. Not to the point of being stuffed, because it can be a little impolite to not eat at all, but enough so you’re in the happy-medium place between satisfied and just a smidgeon hungry. Good pre-party munching should include fiber, protein, good fats, and good carbs. Think: Whole wheat toasts with almond butter, a couple of hardboiled eggs with an apple and a few nuts, or whole grain crackers with hummus.
- Before you fill up your plate, do a food lap. Take stock of what the food options are before you commit. It’s a bummer to fill up your plate with chips and dip, only to later discover the smoked brisket in the corner.
- Then hydrate. Tell yourself that you have to drink a bottle or large glass of water before you eat. And after you eat your first helping. And after you think you’re done. Water can help you to pace your eating, and this can give your body time to let you know if you’re full.
- MYOS. Think outside the grub box and Make Your Own Salad. If the event is a barbecue, chances are there will be a tray of lettuce and tomatoes. Grab a few pieces, add some veg from the veggie tray, and make your own salad. Top it with some protein, salsa, and maybe a small spoonful of potato salad, and you’ve got yourself a healthy masterpiece. Nice work, top chef.
- Save some fruit to eat for, or with, dessert. When it comes to cake time, you’ll feel better about your “none for me, thanks”, or else enjoying just a couple of bites, when you have a plate full of fruit to mow through.
- Want to avoid going back for thirds? Get a job. Take it upon yourself to snap a few pictures, throw away errant pieces of trash, or refill water glasses. And then enjoy the comments about how thoughtful you are.
Above all, try and focus on the reason you’re at the party. Be present in the celebration, and with the people around you. Enjoy watching your loved one be celebrated. Take a few moments when you can to enjoy the warm weather, the flowers, and the green grass. After all – this is what you’ve been waiting for all winter.