#MenuMonday: Staying Healthy at Food-Centered Events

Conquer Your Event-Filled Summer

Independence Day is in our rear-view mirror, but we’ve got a summer full of BBQ ahead. Food-centered events are abundant during summer months and are a wonderful excuse to eat, drink, and socialize. We want to help you keep your health goals in mind, so check out these tips to ensure that you still fit into your white pants come Labor Day!

 

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Don’t go hungry

Make sure that you eat as you normally would earlier in the day, so that you don’t show up famished. “Saving up” for the BBQ/party is code for “overeating” at the BBQ/party.

 

Do some recon

Do a once over on the buffet table before you grab a plate. Decide what it is that you really want, and don’t load up on things that don’t do much for you. Ask yourself how much you really want that handful of Lays potato chips. Those are available the other 364 days of the year, right? Remember, if its not on your plate, you’re not going to eat it.

 

Remember that size matters

Now that you’ve decided what is appealing, don’t forget portion sizes! Visualize some common household items to keep portion sizes in mind: a 3 ounce serving of meat, fish, or poultry is equivalent to a deck of cards. A bun should be no bigger in circumference than a cd, and a 1 ounce serving of cheese is equivalent to the old school floppy disk, or the size of a lipstick, while an ounce of nuts will fill a shot glass. A serving of fruit or a cup of pasta is about the size of a baseball (not a softball!).  Fill up on nutrient dense items that are low in energy like salad or veggies first, and your hunger pangs will diminish sooner.

 

Take a seat

If possible, sit down to enjoy your meal. Studies show that we don’t feel satiated as quickly when we are standing and eating as we do when we are sitting and eating, so sit down and eat your meal. Pay attention to what you are eating, and when you are full, toss your plate, and enjoy the good company. Even better? Participate in the sport of the party, be it badminton, horseshoes, or cornhole. It’ll not only take your mind off of the beckoning buffet, but make you feel like a kid again.

 

Bring the goods

If its a potluck type affair, bring a healthy dish like whole wheat cold pasta salad tossed with veggies and EVOO, or a fresh summer salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, and feta. People will appreciate the healthy gesture, and you don’t have to worry if everything else is deep fried twice over.

 

Rethink your drink

Opt for non-sugar sweetened beverages like water, seltzer, or unsweet tea. If you are hosting, consider providing water infused with fruit or mint. And choose your adult beverages wisely! Choose a glass of wine or light beer, a spirit mixed with selter or soda water and a splash of juice or slice of fruit, or a wine spritzer. Limit sugar-laden options like margaritas, mojitos, or daiquiris. If you do indulge in one, enjoy it and then switch to a waist-friendlier aforementioned option. Aim to eat before drinking alcoholic beverages. When you drink on an empty stomach, you are more prone to over-eat and those heavier comfort foods are more appealing when you’ve “had a few”.

 

 

I hope these tips help you enjoy your event-filled summer, and if you overindulge, no worries. Get back on your healthy horse the day after!

 

– KEELEY MEZZANCELLO, RD, LD, CSCS