How to Eat at a Social Event

We all like parties. However, whether it's the holidays, graduations, weddings, cookouts, or just a full social calendar, you may find it challenging to maintain or lose weight while surrounded by high-fat, high-calorie "party" foods.

The Old You

First, think about how you usually act at a party, food-wise. Picture your behavior chain. Example:

You enter the party, and before you take your coat off, you have a handful of chips. "I'm so hungry, I haven't eaten all day!" you exclaim. You accept a glass of wine, settle down next to the appetizers and proceed to try one of each, so as to not offend your host. At the buffet, you start at the beginning and fill your plate. After eating, you feel full, but can't pass up your favorite dessert.

You feel uncomfortably full, and unhappy with your choices. How will you make it through a week of events?

Take Control

Here are some tips on how to eat at a social gathering:
  • Plan ahead. Find out what food and drink will be offered, and make your choices accordingly. Bring a dish that you know you can eat. Offer to host the party; you'll have a lot of control over food choice and preparation.
  • Watch the alcoholic drinks. Not only does alcohol provide empty calories, it can also make you hungrier and affect your judgment and self-control.
  • Don't go hungry. Have something to eat before you go. If you've waited until the party to eat, you may be too hungry to make good choices. Leave some room for party food, but don't walk in famished.
  • Survey the food available. Pick foods that you don't have often, go for smaller portions, and savor every bite.
  • Be discriminating. Don't snack on everyday foods, like chips, nuts, rolls, etc.
  • Sit away from the food. Make sure your seat is away from the buffet table and grab a chair. That way you can focus on and enjoy your food.
  • Slow down. It takes 20 minutes to feel full. So don't rush as you eat.
  • Concentrate on socializing. Focus on your friends, family and the party. Let food be secondary.

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