Nutritionist tips for eating well at social gatherings



Has this happened to you? 

We've likely all done it. We are eating really well, feeling great and vital, and then we go to some social gathering and eat everything that's insight and it kind of throws us off of our track that we've been on and it's really hard to get back on. 

I've heard it a million times from clients, “Ever since I went to this party, I've just been eating off track. 

Mary Sheila from BioYouth Labs, and today I want to share with you some tips that can support you in eating smart at those social gatherings so that you can stay connected to your health goals. 

  • Bring what you want to eat. 
  • The first tip I want to share with you is to bring something that you're going to want to eat so that it is in alignment with how you want to be eating and feeling. 

  • It’s okay to not be the one who brings the cookies or the dessert, you can change traditions. 

    If you are famous for your cookies or pies, it's OK to say no, it's OK to bring something that's going to work for you at that social gathering. 

    It really is OK, especially if you know that if those cookies are in the house, you're going to end up eating a lot more than you intended. 

    This reminds me of being on holiday with family, where we show up three or four hours before dinner and platters of potato chips and dips are staring me in the face while I'm socializing. 

    I can say no for a while, but after a while it's hard to say no, and I end up giving in and eating them,  and that's not really what I want to do. So oftentimes I will bring a healthy platter of vegetables and a dip so that I can eat the healthy choices I brought and feel really good about them. 

    So I just want to say it is OK to change up what you bring and bring what is going to be good for you.

    1. Don’t show up starving

    When you show up really hungry, your cortisol is higher and you're going to give in to those carbs. It's just part of our physiology, so make sure you eat protein before you go to the party. 

    Eat a good day of food so that you're not showing up in a famished state without a lot of control. 

    1. Exercise in the morning, the day of the party

    Make sure that you exercise that day. Parties and social gatherings, unless you're busting a move on the dance floor, is usually a lot of sitting around talking. 

    Get a good workout in, whatever it is that you like to do, so that when you're sitting around, you can know you still got a good workout in.

    1. Moderate your alcohol and hydrate with water in between 

    If you are drinking alcohol or any kind of cocktails, make sure to hydrate with water in between. This is going to support you in regulating how much you drink. 

    1. Bring your own fancy - low sugar non alcoholic beverage

    And maybe you don't want to be drinking or you want to drink less. 

    Bring your own fancy low sugar, non alcoholic beverage. One of my favorites is bringing sparkling water, with a splash of kombucha and maybe a little kavass.  It's very refreshing and satisfying. Then you have something to drink along with everybody else, but it's not going to be alcoholic. Too much alcohol can cause overeating. 

    1. When you get ready to eat - especially at a potluck - look over all the food choices first

    Make sure to walk through the whole table first, see what's there, and know what your choices are. That way you're not going to get to the end and realize there’s no room for the salad that’s at the end of the table. 

    1. Fill your plate up ½ full with veggies first, or even just have a veggie plate first before going for the main course

    I often recommend putting the greens, vegetables and salads on 1st, letting them cover about half of your plate or even 3/4. So then you can add your protein and maybe a little bit of starch to round it out to have a complete meal. It's not about not being able to have those things, but it's really about finding portions that are going to work for you and actually make you feel good at the end of the meal. 

    One of my friends that I work with is a doctor. She always says “I don't like potlucks because I never feel good after a potluck. I always end up eating too many starches.” 

    1. You don’t have to try everything, and if you do, just try a bite. 

    It’s OK to look through all the food, you don't have to eat everything on the table. It is OK to skip some dishes. You're not going to hurt anybody's feelings. You're just choosing what's going to work for you

    1. It’s okay to say No to desserts 

    OK, let's talk about desserts. It is 100% OK to say “No, thank you. I'm just too full for dessert, but it looks delicious.”

    It is completely OK to say no, you do not have to eat the sugar at the end, which sometimes will affect your sleep or make you feel bad the next day or just too full. 

    It is absolutely OK to say no. 

    My mom always used to say, “Oh no, thank you, I've had enough sugar in my life.” Now when I reflect on that, I just think, wow, that was pretty bold that she just said that every time and nobody ever hassled her or anything. So you can come up with your own phrase or try that one on for just saying no thank you.

    We all know what sugar tastes like, and it's also OK to have some dessert, if that's what you choose, either way, it's just about owning your choice, enjoying whatever you choose. 

    1. Focus more on socializing than the food 

    And last but not least, focus more on socializing than the food. Of course, I am a foodie. I love dinner parties and potlucks with other foodies and things like that, but it's also about getting together and enjoying the people.

    It’s about slowing down when we eat and not eating too much. And I know it can be hard. It's hard for me sometimes. That's why I'm sharing this video, because we just went to a potluck yesterday and I brought exactly what I knew I wanted to eat at the potluck. And there was a lot of other good choices, but it was really nice to be able to add that onto my plate along with the main course and feel good at the end of the night. I hope this is helpful and if you have any other tips around socializing and the foods that you eat, please reach out and let me know so  we can add you’re ideas to the list. 

    Thank you so much and have a great day.

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