Let’s face it, dieting tends to get in the way of truly enjoying all food. Show of (digital) hands: how many times have you said “no” to the homemade birthday cake at one of your friend’s birthday parties? When dining out, have you had to turn down a bite of food because it didn’t “fit” into your diet?
Feeling constrained by your diet is not fun for anyone, but don’t fear, we’ve got you covered! From brunch to the mid-day coffee break to late-night snacks, having your diet get in the way can be restrictive and limiting. And nobody has got time for that. Read on for solutions and strategies to diet-proof common social events.
Literally my favorite meal, since it incorporates some of breakfast’s best with lunch’s finest. When brunching, try to select options that are high in protein (think eggs, lean meat) and whole grains (whole wheat breads, oats) and don’t be afraid to add in some healthy fats (hello, avocado!). My current obsession is avocado smashed and spread on toasted whole wheat bread and topped with sunny side up eggs. If I’m feeling extra adventurous, I douse the whole thing with hot sauce.
Mid-day coffee break
You are not alone if you often feel the need for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. I prefer my coffee black, but when I branch out of my comfort zone, I favor a fancy flavored coffee sweetened with lower-calorie options and fewer pumps of syrup. When I don’t feel like having something sweet, I just add milk (regular, coconut, or soy) to my coffee. It’s a nice way to make coffee feel like a treat while adding some healthy fats and protein.
To avoid a dreaded demise from happy hour to “hangry hour,” make sure you don’t show up to happy hour starved. Popping a handful of nuts before you head out the door will keep your stomach from grumbling. Once there, gravitate towards options that are fruit and veggie heavy. Enjoying a cheese platter or dips with some veggies is a great way to incorporate some more healthy choices.
Sweets and socializing go hand in hand and you don’t have to give them up to be healthy. Here, it’s important to keep portions in check. Split dessert with a friend or ask for a child-sized portion (many ice cream places offer this). It all boils down to calorie balance. You’ll not only be able to shave off some calories, but will save some money as well!
Pizza, nachos, and anything fried—some of food’s greatest gifts. I would be crazy to advocate eating these foods all the time, but these foods, when indulged in moderation, can have a place in an overall healthy diet. It’s more about how they’re prepared than the foods themselves. Here are a few tips on how to “healthify” these tasty treats.
- Order your pizza with whole wheat crust—this is becoming a more frequent option, and I have even seen these options in my local grocery stores, so take advantage of it!
- On your next order of nachos, why not add veggies?
- In the mood for fries? Sweet potato fries are a nice alternative to regular.
So there you have it: five different social events and more than five different ways to liberate you from restrictive diets. Try one or two at your next outing and see how they go.
Small changes can really add up to something significant, especially over time. Hopefully, you will be freed from dieting constraints while feeling empowered to make more healthful food decisions in these exciting, yet sometimes over-indulgent, social situations!