Most of us truly enjoy get-togethers with family and friends. I certainly do! Get-togethers tend to be about celebration and we bring out the foods we don’t normally have. Creamy baked dips, flavored or candy filled trail mixes, themed cocktails, deep fried munchies, and ooey-gooey sweets. Good lord! I really shouldn’t type all that stuff out…my mouth is watering thinking about said yumminess! 🙂
One thing I am still working on in regard to my health is learning to resist “following the crowd.” There are times when I really don’t necessarily have a taste for some of the munchies or drinks offered and I even went to the party with the intent of not having the stuff simply because I didn’t want it. However, it is quite often still that when I get there with all the friends and laughter I find myself simply munching because that is what the crowd is doing. No one is pressuring me. I’m not feeling guilt for abstaining or consuming. Rather, I’m simply not paying attention. The stuff is there…everyone is digging in…so I do, too. Usually I end up either filling over full because I don’t really know how much I ate OR I get a stomach ache from all the rich food I don’t normally eat.
I’ve been diligently working on simply paying attention more to what I’m feeling when I eat. And not just at get togethers, but ALL the time. I am sure that being more mindful overall is helping me in these social get-together situations, but I am also using the strategies below, too. Why??
- They help me have options.
- They help me know what I’m actually eating.
- They allow me to feel satisfied in that I actually got some decent fuel AND get to enjoy the special yumminess of the day.
- They allow me to enjoy the whole gathering without feeling like my jeans are gonna bust or that I need to hangout in the bathroom for fear of losing it from one end or the other. (Cuz that last part there would surely ruin any good par-tay!)
So, without further adieu, here are the five things to keep you feeling good WHILE enjoying the festivities:
1. If you aren’t hosting, bring a healthy option to share (in addition to a dish you may be bringing which is purely about the yum factor).
I almost always bring veggies and homemade ranch dip. Fruit kabobs and a dip is another great option. When I put together my fresh veggies I usually bring at least one thing that is not typical to the veggie tray. I almost always get asked what it is and people usually eat it up…plus it’s a good convo starter if you’re in a situation where you only know the host. Atypical veggie tray additions: kohlrabi, zucchini rounds, jicama stix, colored cauliflower, broccoli romanesco, beauty heart radish.
2. Break your chips up to get the most dip factor.
Salty, crunchy chips! Hell yes, I love ’em! But I love ’em even more loaded with fresh salsa or guac. If you’ve got salsa and/or guac as chip dip choices, eat up. Salsa and guac are pretty good for you, especially if they are homemade. Get a few chips, then break them up into pieces, dip each small chip piece to get maximum salsa or guac intake! Less chips + more yumminess = totally satisfied!
3. Think 70/30 or 80/20. Get A MAJORITY of healthier options when you load up your snack plate. Eat those first, then opt for smaller portions of the more decadent stuff when you are already approaching full.
Take that little party snack plate and divide it mentally in thirds. Fill up roughly two thirds of *better* choices: veggies, salsa, nuts, fruit. Fill up roughly the final third with tastes of yumminess. Work on the *better* choices first taking the edge of your hunger, then work your way to the indulgent stuff second. You kill two birds with one stone: healthy good stuff AND indulgent treats.
4. Fill up a plate and sit down somewhere to eat it. Don’t stand up and pick. Sitting and eating will help you be aware of the actual quantity you consume and you are also taking the time to cue into your body and if you’re feeling full or whatever.
It’s hard to eat moderately when you have no idea what you shoved in your pie-hole. Believe me, I know!! I am the Queen of the Party Table Grazers…or used to be! Load up a snack plate, head for a chair, and eat up. Savor those special foods! Like I said, we bring out the big guns when we have get-togethers. I know I do at least. I always make stuff when I have company that I wouldn’t otherwise. Sit and enjoy the food…even the not-so-healthy-but-DAMN-it’s-good stuff. Savor while listening to what your body is telling you!! Stop when your body has had enough.
5. Get away from the food.
Food is part of any fun gathering. But it isn’t ALL about that, is it? You’re there to share laughter and good times with friends, too. Eat. Enjoy the food. Then enjoy the company and the atmosphere. Can’t get anyone to leave the buffet table and you don’t want to miss out on the convo? All you gotta do is say to a friend without a plate something like “Are you done eating? I’m done eating and I just wanna be lazy and hit the couch and stretch out. Wanna join me?” or simply say “I need to sit down. I’m gonna go find a comfy spot on the couch.” My guess is someone will follow along with you and then just like that the convo moves away from the food table.
Can you enjoy a gathering with lots of indulgent food and STILL be healthy and STILL stay focused on changing your habits? Hell yeah!! Go to your Super Bowl party this weekend and thoroughly enjoy it while being aware. You absolutely can have your cake and eat it, too…or in this case, have your yumminess and health, too!