Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle doesn’t mean hiding at home eating steamed chicken and broccoli – it means going out and enjoying all the opportunities available to you. And, often, that means parties! Whether you’re invited to a birthday, braai, buffet or a formal event, it’s possible to navigate the various pitfalls while sticking to your healthy eating plan at the same time. Here’s how.
Hip hip hooray!
Birthday parties can be a minefield, with canapés, cake and a host of other confections to enjoy. A good starting point is to ask your host what type of food will be on offer and to plan from there. If you can make healthy choices from the party catering available, then go ahead. If not, explain the situation to your host and ask if you can either eat beforehand or bring your own food instead.
There’s nothing that encourages snacking like a braai – waiting for the fire to build while your hand dips into bowl after bowl of chips and popcorn. The next time you’re invited to a braai, don’t ask what time the event starts, ask what time the fire is starting. That way you’ll be able to arrive just before cooking starts and avoid the unnecessary snacking leading up to it. If you do want to sit and chat though, by all means, arrive a few hours early – just take a platter of crudités (raw veg), hummus and cottage cheese to keep the cravings at bay.
The buffet line
Weddings, staff functions and conferences are the biggest culprits here: an endless buffet of delights you just have to try, and by the time you get back to your table, your plate is piled high. Next time you’re serving yourself from a buffet, do a recon walk first past all the available options and make a mental note of those that fit your eating plan best. Then when you’re in the queue, stick to your pre-selected options. You’ll keep within your dietary guidelines and you won’t be in dire need of an elasticated waistband afterwards either.
The big one
If it’s a plated dinner event you’ve been asked to, you may not have quite as much flexibility with your ordering as you would have at a restaurant. Not to worry though – simply make the best choice you can from the options available to you. Healthy living is all about making the best choice in every circumstance. Even if yours isn’t perfect, if you’ve done as much as you can with what you’ve been given, you’re not just winning at health, but life as well. Bon appétit!
Yes, it’s possible to be healthy on a budget! Find out how, here.