Plain and simple: a healthy diet is crucial in warding off ailments like heart disease and cancer. People don’t doubt this truth, but many choose not to act on it anyway. It’s tough to limit candy, chips and from our diet because for so long we have associated those foods with rewards and feelings of well being. Luckily, it is never too late to renovate your diet and make healthier decisions. But before you assume complete responsibility for what goes in your mouth, think twice– your social circles may have more to do your the eating choices than you think.
Odds are, your best friend is not spoon-feeding you ice cream at the neighborhood Memorial Day barbecue, and your nephew certainly isn’t asking you to dip into his Halloween candy. Yet the people we interact with every day have a lot to do with what we eat. Think about the big events year round: New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday, for example. For one occasion, you may volunteer to bake cookies for a Christmas bake sale at your child’s school-and wind up eating several of the treats yourself. Or maybe you hand out treats to trick-or-treaters on Halloween-but end up munching on the candy between knocks at your door.
Even when the holiday season is over, we are sometimes tempted to eat poorly when around others. Dinner parties, birthdays and baby showers occur frequently and year-round. Typically, events like these feature casseroles, and even edible party favors. But never fear– there is a way to attend social events without falling out of good eating habits.
Start by picking out the foods and treats you absolutely cannot live without. Keep in mind you can buy candy corn year round, along with the other sweets you might think are only available once a year. Instead of binging on pumpkin pie, eat moderate amounts of the Thanksgiving entrée items so you won’t want more than a modest slice of pie for dessert. Prepare and bring low-calorie dishes to holiday gatherings, like a tossed salad with raspberry vinaigrette or minestrone loaded with veggies and beans. Instead of hiding away from the festivities, fill up on fruits and veggies, and enjoy a small portion of the must-have treats.
Better yet, think of a plan of action before the event takes place. Eat more of the low-calorie foods available so you have limited room for a bit of the treats you simply can’t resist. Have a healthy snack beforehand, like vegetable juice, fruit or whole grain crackers, so you won’t gorge at the gathering. Literally look at the food that is going into your mouth so you don’t get distracted and eat more than you intend.
It’s unrealistic to expect to never slip and have a thick slice of cake, or eat one too many dinner rolls at a restaurant. However, by using some of these ways to stay on track most of the times you attend a social event or when you host one yourself, you will have better overall success sticking to a healthy diet while enjoying the company of those around you. Isn’t that really the point of social events anyway?