Behavior ChangeMindsetNutritionUncategorized

Can You Eat Healthy At A Party?

By June 12, 2009 27 Comments

I am going to try a new thing out to encourage more people to comment in the posts.  This is a community and we need as much participation as possible.  So I am requiring at least 20 comments in this post for my mom to do her next post which is eating healthy when dining out.  So please read this article and click the comments box at the bottom of the page!

Based off of your requests, we are going to be talking about making it through a cookout or summer party.  This can be very challenging to do, and I have to admit many times I just let myself go and use it as my cheat meal or cheat day.  One trick I use is to never drink calories at a party, and always be drinking tons of water.  I will easily drink 4 cups an hour.  This makes it a little more difficult to overeat.  I would also recommend putting all the food you are going to eat on your plate and just eat that.  The most dangerous thing is to continually be picking up handfuls of food.  It is impossible to tell portion size at that point, and you are mindlessly eating, because you are talking with others, not even thinking about what the food tastes like!

Ok, here is my moms post!

Well, almost to the middle of June already!  I am trying to make a conscious effort to truly enjoy the sun and all the green surrounding me every day and to be aware of how much we have to be thankful for and not take for granted already what we Northerners anticipate all winter long!  And along with the sun comes BBQs for all sorts of occasions,  especially the graduation open houses right now.  Shelley wrote in asking for ideas for keeping on a healthy plan while attending so many “special occasions” that offer reasons/excuses to ditch all caution and have at it.  So that is what we will discuss today instead of featuring a recipe.

I got to practice this just yesterday at SOAR at your very own UW Madison; for those of you outside of Madison, 5000 incoming freshmen flock to the campus throughout the summer for orientation.  As Dustin mentioned last week, his little brother, Eric, will be attending…..and little sis, Angela, will be a senior; one might assume that we LOVE Madison!  Anyway, UW takes very good care of us when it comes to mealtime; yesterday we parents ate at Liz Waters, on the outdoor terrace overlooking the lake–hard to believe we were not on vacation!  They gave us 3 entrees to choose from, or a mix-match of whatever.  I was there early so had a chance to look over everything; this is probably a good thing to do at any party or BBQ, so you can plan your strategy before hand and not just stumble through and then say oops!  They had the usual hamburger/French fries, which included a California veggie medley and wild rice soup.

Then there was white rice with sweet ‘n sour chicken, a sliced roast beef sandwich, a black bean lasagna, and a very healthy salad bar, desserts, and a freezer full of ice cream treats!  It was good that I was able to ask ahead of time if we could mix it up; sometimes in a line with lots of people we don’t want to hold up the works and just grab and keep moving.  I picked the roast beef without the bun, half of a small serving of the lasagna,and 2 chunks of the chicken without the rice.  At the salad bar, it was very easy to pick the spring salad mix, not the iceberg lettuce, some spinach, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, and fresh pineapple.  I used a little of the lite olive oil dressing as they didn’t have the separate bottles of oil and vinegar; often I go without dressing and just enjoy the separate veggies.  Seeing how I was able to do so well so far, it was time to splurge at the dessert table-ha!  I picked the key lime pie; here is where further restraint COULD have been exercised and not eat the whole thing, right?!  Only you can decide where the calories are worth the sacrifice later on; suffice it to say, today will be a day of fruit or green veggies, for a little mini cleanse!  That seems to work for me, when I want to “undo” a previous day’s choices; sometimes it is easy to do several days of this.

Another strategy is to eat before the party, like some good protein and healthy fat for a sensation of fullness; then the sweets especially will not be so tempting.  String cheese and a small handful of raw, unsalted nuts and seeds would do the job.  Once at the BBQ or party, try to head straight for the veggie tray or fresh fruits and nibble through these while visiting; maybe a little cheese and nuts, although usually these will be the less healthy version.  When you are not so hungry anymore, maybe a small serving of the meat would be a treat for you; sometimes just a bite of my husband’s hotdog or hamburger is plenty.  Usually there are lots of pasta and potato salads; if these are your cravings, again, small portions will not wreck a thing.  Just choose when to get them and it will be easier to be moderate.  It goes without saying that the dessert table should be saved for the end….if it is a big white graduation cake, it takes zero willpower for me to pass up on it; so sometimes the occasion will help you out!  When you have one of those days where you have to hit half a dozen grad parties, Lord help you!!  Last week I was at one and heard people sharing what specialties each place had and they were planning ahead as for which place they would save their appetites!  If you have to spend a few hours at one place, sometimes just putting your plate down and carrying a bottle of water around with you will forgo some of that mindless grazing while visiting.

Now it is your turn to share with us your favorite tips for eating healthy at picnics, potlucks, or parties!  We need at least 20 comments in order to hear next week from my mom on the topic of eating healthy when eating at a restaurant!

Keep eating~healthy!

Dustin’s Mom~Joy

For more great recipes and nutritional tips, click the links below!

30 Healthy Snacks, 21 Healthy SnacksChocolate Chip CookiesChocolate Tofu PiePureed Vegetables, Roasted VeggiesQuinoaChickenOmeletPizzaGuacamoleHummusCarrot Soup Campfire Food Protein Bars 7 Day Meal Plan