June 20th marks the first day of summer, just a week away! Many activities and parties fill the summer months. Whether your trying to slim down or maintain your current weight, social events can be distracting with all the food and beverage offerings. Most times we’re unlikely to know what is being served. Keep the food surprises to a minimum by planning before each event.
Planning is key. You get the invite in the mail. You mark it on your calendar. Now what? Start planning to make good choices so when you get to the party you already have that mind set. Think about what time will the party be. Most gatherings have food prepared and ready for guest when they arrive. For example, say the party is on a Saturday and starts 3pm. Have a filling breakfast followed by a light lunch and think of the event food as snack and dinner meals. Long travels may cause you to miss lunch? No problem. Cheese sticks, apples and baby carrots are easily portable in small, handy coolers. You may even plan your biggest meal of the day at the party itself. Whatever you choose to do, remind yourself that this day is like any other when it comes to good food choices.
Moderation and serving sizes can throw someone off, especially when food is laid out in large platters with large serving utensils. There are several ways to avoid this. First, use your hand as a serving guide. The palm of your hand is roughly 3-4oz of meat. Make a fist. That is approximately one cup. Two thumbs will give you an approximate salad dressing serving. One thumb equals a little less than a cheese serving. “But I have big hands!” you say. Sure, and so is your appetite. Serving sizes are based on one’s height, weight and gender. Using the hand method is closely accurate verses just scooping lasagna onto your plate.
Another portion control trick is using smaller dishes for heavier food items such as dips, potato and pasta salads. Chips and crackers should be a ‘pinch’ serving or enough to fill the palm of your hand. Refrain from eating chips out of the serving bowl; it’s very easy to get carried away. Use the big plates to load up veggies and fruits. Keep a water bottle in your hands at all times. You may find that it will help distract you from grabbing too many soda’s or alcoholic beverages.
“I ate too much!” We all have good intentions when arriving to the party, but sometimes we do go off plan. No need to panic or get discouraged. Look around. Is there a game going on like volleyball, softball or any other activity? Join in! Burn those calories! Toss a Frisbee around, dance to the music, even a simple game like darts or crochet will keep you active and your metabolism roaring!
Don’t surprise yourself at the next party. Plan ahead. Keep it cool and remember food is fuel. Embrace yourself with friends and family. After all, it’s a celebration of life and moments we share together. Not a celebration of food.
Have a safe and happy summer!
Michelle MacDermaid, CPT