How Your Diet Can Survive Your Social Life
As you work to lose weight and eat healthy, social events can seem challenging. Since so much socializing seems to revolve around less-than-healthy food, may feel a conflict between hanging out with friends and family and staying on track with your diet.
Luckily, you can solve this dilemma. There is no reason to sacrifice fun or your healthy weight intentions. With a few considerations, it may be safe to say you can have your cake and eat it, too.
Just Hanging Out
What happens when a group of friends hangs out? Whatever other activities are going on, there is probably a certain amount of noshing, too. The standard fare may be chips and dip, crackers with cheese, and cookies. Translation: calories, starch, sugar, and fat to drive up your blood sugar and the scale.
You can nibble without gaining weight, though. Just make a few easy swaps. For example:
- Save on starch by choosing Protein Pretzels and Protein Chips instead of regular ones.
- Dip raw veggies instead of crackers and chips.
- Cut the fat and calories by going for Protein Cheese Snacks instead of cheese and crackers.
- Make your own low-fat Greek yogurt dip or other protein dip instead of scooping up gobs of creamy dips.
- Cut the sugar and choose Protein Cookies instead of regular cookies.
Healthy Recipes for a Crowd
If you are a guest, your best bet to make sure there is something for you to eat that is on your diet is for you to bring it yourself. Kill two birds with one stone – being a polite guest and fending for yourself – by bringing a dish to share that you are happy to eat. These are some simple ideas that are tried and true.
- Green salad with chopped vegetables, fresh berries or pieces of fruit, nuts, and grilled chicken breast, shredded cheese, hard-boiled egg slices, or beans.
- Fruit salad served with cottage cheese (this works well for dessert, lunch, or brunch)
- Skewers with protein, such as shrimp, mozzarella cheese, or tofu, and vegetables or fruit such as cherry tomatoes, pineapple, bell peppers, and mushrooms.
You can find plenty of other ideas and recipes at The BariatricPal Store.
Entertaining on a Diet
You can be a good host and stick to your diet at the same time. It is not that difficult to put together a meal that you can enjoy guilt-free, and that your guests can enjoy without accusing you of feeding them “diet food.”
For a casual brunch or lunch, you can put out a buffet and let guests serve themselves. As you serve yourself brunch, skip the bagels and breakfast pastries, and opt instead for eggs, cottage cheese, and fresh fruit. For lunch, you can offer a range of soups, salads, cold cuts, and breads. Base your own meal around broth-based soups, lean meats, and a green salad, and save the mayo-based salads and creamy soups for your guests.
A sit-down lunch or dinner can be just as easy and healthy for you, and delicious to your guests. You could serve a piece of salmon with teriyaki sauce, baked pecan-crusted chicken breasts, or Portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and spinach. Always have a green salad on the table, and roasted cauliflower can be another elegant side dish. You can offer any kind of starch from fresh bread to rice pilaf to mashed potatoes without serving yourself more than a spoonful or two.
Seasonal fresh fruit is always a good choice for dessert. You can serve it with whipped cream. Guests might actually appreciate the lighter dessert after the feast you just served, but if you think they will want more, you can offer chocolate cake or sponge cake to enjoy with the fruit.
Weight loss can require a lot of sacrifices, but fun times with friends and family are not among them. Whether you are hosting a get-together or you are someone else’s guest, you can take simple steps to be able to enjoy yourself and the company without sacrificing your waistline.
- Alex Brecher