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How to Navigate Social Gatherings Without Compromising Your Health Goals - By Brianna Bavota R.D.

Jul 28, 2020

COVID restrictions have lifted and we are all excited to be participating in family barbeques, pot lucks, and birthday parties again. What do all of these events have in common? Food, drinks and desserts (and lots)! Here are 5 tips to prevent you from overindulging at these gatherings so you can enjoy without compromising on your health goals. Ok, let’s dive in …

Tip # 1: Be the Veggie Hero

- Bring a staple dish: one that’s a crowd pleaser, but also pleasing to your healthy lifestyle (something healthy you can eat). It’s tough going to places where you have no control over the food, so take accountability of your health and bring your own dish. It’s a win/win; the host will appreciate you helping them out, and you’re able to enjoy healthy foods. Not sure what to bring? It could be as simple as a seasonal salad. I personally like doing an arugula, watermelon and feta salad. It could also be grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, or mixed vegetables tossed in olive oils and herbs to roast on the BBQ.

Tip #2: Plan Head & Set Limits

- Plan your behaviour beforehand, and plan it specifically. Make a specific plan for what you will allow yourself to do. For example, plan to eat a good portion of protein, and lots of green vegetables, cut the starch. With your plan, you can then acknowledge the urge to overeat, but not give in. Make sure to make a specific plan BEFORE the event and NOT on an empty stomach. If you decide you’re going to have a treat, decide what treat and how much you want to enjoy and stick to that. Occasional enjoyment of food is not a problem - what we want to avoid is impulsive over-eating!

Tip #3: The Optical Illusion

- Hold your drink in your dominant hand. It is very hard pick at a table with your non-dominant hand!

Tip #4: The 80/20 rule

- 80% of the time you are following healthy eating, 20% of the time you can allow for small indulgences. To put into perspective; If you think of a year 365 days, 20% of 365 days is 72 days, which is a lot – make these gatherings part of the 20% (you may not feel as guilty afterwards either).

Tip #5: Smaller Plate, Taller Glasses

- This one is another optical illusion so to speak: The bigger the plate the more food you are going to pile on right, so the smaller the plate, it kind of makes you think “oh, I shouldn’t have that extra scoop of mash potato because I won’t have space”. Also - small round glasses tend to cause us to drink more, use those for water. Tall glasses tend to cause us drink less or slower so use those for cocktails or sweetened beverages.

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