Tis' the Season
It's that time of year when social gatherings increase, and for some, the stress of how to eat when in attendance can be overwhelming. When you’re a person who likes to go out, it can feel daunting if you have food allergies/dietary restrictions, or a strong desire to maintain your clean eating lifestyle. You may wonder if there will be anything that you can eat at social functions, and so you begin the inner debate... “Do I go?” “What will I eat?” “Will there be options that are safe for me?” “What about cross-contamination?” Sticking to a clean eating lifestyle or restricted diet plan can be hard, but there are lots of ways to stay on track and still go out and enjoy yourself! Following, I will give you a few tips on attending parties and cozy gathering while eating clean and sticking to plan.
Eat Before You Leave
The easiest and best way to stay on point with your clean-eating lifestyle is to eat before you leave. This can be especially true if you have food allergies or dietary restrictions! Pick something lean and high protein, that way you’ll be a little lighter on your toes for the evening without having to experience the woes of hunger or the heavy meal, carb-hangover that will make you feel sluggish and not very sociable!
Bring Your Own Food
One of my favorite options is to bring your own food with enough to share. This way you can eat freely without having to worry if something is “safe or on-plan” for you. Place your container on the serving table for other guests to share, but be sure to label it if there are any allergies to be concerned with, and put it in a safe location (above other foods, or away from foods with the same allergen). I also bring a serving utensil to cut down on any cross-contamination from one tray to the next. I will often label my dish with what it is and that (in my case) it’s “gluten-free”. This way other guests can try it out and if they have similar issues, they will be thrilled to see a safe option! I always keep a back-up plan with safe snacks (like a GoMacro organic, plant-based protein bar) in my purse, just in case!
Pick the Healthiest Food They Have
Most gatherings are likely to have some relatively healthy options, so try to gravitate towards these first. Look for fruit and veggie trays, nuts and seeds, even lean and clean proteins. Try to make half your plate vegetables and be sure to load up on colors! Watch the dips, they are a quick way to add extra calories! Remember, everything in moderation. If you’re really worried about whether something is completely safe to eat, then it might just be best to skip it until later, or eat your own dish or safe snack you brought from home.
Drink More Water
A lot of hunger that people experience can be attributed to needing to drink more water. If you’re still hungry after a glass of water or two, then you’ll know your hunger is really hunger. Start off with drinking plenty of water leading up to the event or gathering (50% your body weight in ounces of water daily). At the event, drink water with your food and then move on to alcohol, if you desire. When deciding which alcoholic beverages are good for you, keep in mind, alcohol calories are empty calories – void of nutrition and can lead to more snacking. The following are a bit healthier than most: Dry Wines, Vodka & Club Soda, Mojitos, Whisky on the Rocks. If you aren’t sure about alcoholic beverage options, you can likely bring your favorite safe alcoholic option with you. Don’t forget to bring enough to share with other guests, if acceptable with the host. If you are looking for gluten-free safe alcohol options, reach out for a free guide! (You’re welcome!)
Spending time socializing can help you to keep you mind off of feeling hungry. It takes time and energy to foster new connections. Get involved in stimulating conversations that capture your interest. Learn about anything and everything from anyone who will be willing to explain. Join in a game, or start one! This is a good way to see what people are into and help them feel more comfortable while avoiding standing around the food table and mindlessly snacking!
Enjoy Getting Out There
It’s important to get out there and be social. It's actually healthy to be social! No need to let a healthy lifestyle or dietary restrictions stand in your way! Seize events as opportunities to challenge your commitment, to introduce your favorite foods and beverages to others, to be flexible with packing snacks or eating ahead, or how about this… To set an example for others! Whatever the reason, enjoy the season and stay well doing what you know is best for you!