Summer is right around the corner... and with the beautiful weather comes lots of great summer parties! Cookouts and barbecues, and even birthdays and graduations, revolve around eating, drinking and socializing. Many people enjoy an opportunity to make that great new recipe they found and use these parties as an excuse to try them out. When you show up at a party for 20 people, there is usually enough food to feed an army!
You're faced with all these delicious dishes that you never get to eat, because you are on a diet. What will you do? ITG is here to give you some tips that will help you stick to your diet and survive those summer parties!
Plan and prep ahead of time. If you know you are going to a cookout or party, find out (if you can) what they are serving. Try to stick to the main meal (no appetizers and grazing) and eat just like you would at home. Usually you will always find some type of protein on the menu. Opt for a lean burger or a piece of grilled chicken, skip the cheese, no bun, and add mustard and fresh veggies such as onions, tomato, lettuce and pickles. A hamburger salad is a great meal you can create with the typical burger toppings available at most cookouts! Our best tip: visit the ITG Recipe Section and find a side dish you can have yourself on the plan, just in case there isn't anything else healthy available for you to pick at. You'll probably have others asking you for your recipe!
Don't treat every party as if it's your last meal! Good food will always be around, so don’t have the mindset that this is your one-and-only opportunity to dive into those desserts, chips and dip, and restricted foods with no abandon. Once you're down to your goal weight and have moved into Step 3 - Success For Life, you can enjoy these foods in moderation on your reward day.
Getting together with friends and family is why you came to the party! Enjoy the fun and games, great conversation, and hopefully some beautiful weather. Focus on the fun, not the food!
Don't sit next to the food table! This is a rookie mistake. Stay away from the chip and dip plates. Grab a seat where you can't reach the food without getting up to go find it, if possible. Read more about Mindless Eating, which can happen when you're surrounded by poor food choices and eat without thinking!
Always make sure you bring water. You should even fill up on water before arriving, which will help curb your appetite once the food is served. There may be plenty to drink at the party, but typically alcohol and sodas will be in abundance. None of these drinks will keep you hydrated and feeling full. Side note: if you don’t bring your own water - stick to water or seltzer and pass on the soda and other drinks. Calories from food are much more enjoyable, so don't drink all your calories! They tend to add up very quickly. Take an ITG Fruit Drink packet with you and add a spoonful to your glass or bottled water for a bit of fruity flavor - and a little extra protein!
Bring an ITG Bar or other ITG snack with you to help you pass on the sugary sweets and desserts.
Be sensible and stay on track. Realize that it’s just a party and a few hours that are better spent with family and friends, rather than a focus on food - don't stray off program and eat foods that aren't allowed. You should enjoy your company more than the food.
Enjoy the foods you can eat and don't focus on the foods you can't have - resist and stick to your plan!