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For the Love of Food: Summertime Party Tips and Bonus Recipe!

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Those of us have tried to make positive changes to their diet know that weekdays are always easiest. That’s because weekdays are filled with trips to the grocery store, lots of cooking, eating leftovers, and packing lunches. Buy good food, cook good food, eat good food, repeat.

It’s on the weekends, holidays and parties when we totally forget how to eat.  Social gatherings hold a special place in our brains – they signal a “letting loose” that involves doing things you might not normally do on a typical day, or indulging in things that you wouldn’t have had if you were at home. Unfortunately, one indulgence at a party might send some of us on a depressing downward spiral back to our old eating habits.

Sure, there are a ton of reasons as to WHY you over-indulge or make bad decisions at parties…

‘I ate four slices of pizza because that’s all there was to eat at the party.’

‘My friend had a cheese steak and then dessert and she’s so skinny, so I figured that I could eat it, too’

‘It was a birthday party. I HAD to eat cake.’

Sure, those excuses are real. But they’re lame, and can be torn apart in a second.

With 4th of July and summer BBQs right around the corner, here are a few tips for avoiding having to make excuses for your bad decisions. These suggestions should help you stay on track and still enjoying the summertime cookouts, birthday parties, happy hours, and holidays.

If the party is serving bad foods ( ie: processed foods or meats, sweetened sauces, chips and sour cream dips, cake), try these tips:

Make it a Potluck: A great way to ensure that you can eat right and avoid bad foods without offending the host is to offer to bring a dish of food to share with everyone, even if it’s not a potluck. Baked or grilled chicken wings, meatballs, grilled veggie platter,  fruit salad, salsa or guacamole are great options that just about everyone likes. Fill up on your own dish early into the party, making you less likely to ‘graze’ or make bad decisions later. (remember, spacing out your four brownies throughout the party doesn’t make it any less of a cheat).

Play With Your Food: Just because the host of a party is serving certain foods contain bad things like bread, tons of cheese, or sugary sauces, doesn’t mean that you can’t touch them. Actually, you have to touch them a little more. Go ahead, take the burger out of the bun, scrape the mystery sauce off the chicken, and remove the layer of cheese that’s covering the veggies. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction. And you might get some weird looks, but who cares? You look good and feel good. Give them a weird look back.

Use the Buddy System: Life is hard to do on your own. Having someone there to help celebrate your victories, to ease your pain when you are down, and to help you get through the tough times, is sometimes the only way we get by. Casually communicate your eating habits to your friend, significant other, or someone that you plan on seeing the entire night. By telling them what you are and aren’t going to eat, it makes you more accountable for your actions, and it put someone else on your side. If they aren’t supportive or if they make fun you, then ditch them. If they are your friend, they’ll help you get through the evening’s food choices, and you’ll be able to share your accomplishments with another person.

Pre-Game! Chances are that you know about a party before it happens. On the morning that you are planning to go out, pack an extra meal. Before you leave for the party, eat that meal. Even if you’re not super-hungry. That way, when you walk past the table of horrible of food choices, you will be relaxed and satiated, not ravenously hungry and suddenly nervous. It’s much easier to make a good food decision when you’re not hungry (kind of like that rule about not going to the grocery store when you’re hungry).

Starve to Death: If you do  find yourself out without a single food option that looks remotely normal, show off that self-control that allowed you to make the decision to eat better in the first place. Skip this meal and eat a real dinner later when you get home. No one has ever ‘starved to death’ because they didn’t eat pigs in a blanket or ice cream at a party. Indulge in the juicy gossip, the cool atmosphere, or the cute guy/girl you just met, and save the good food for later.

If you make a bad decision, it’s not the end of the world. It is, however, a decision on your part, and not a ‘mistake’. Being accountable for your actions will help your success in the long run.

Turn it around: You see the plate of cookies. They seem to be calling your name.  You eat a cookie. You immediately feel a little guilty. Well, as long as you’re already guilty, you might as well keep going—- wait, what? No! If you make a mistake, its OK. It’s not going to change anything in the long term.  ‘Cheating’ by eating a cookie is one thing, but cheating by eating an entire platter of cookies, and then some cake, is another. If you make a bad decision, turn yourself around and head back toward your goal of making the night a success. Don’t harp on it and turn it into a worse decision.

Try, try again: So this party was a disaster. You drank your weight in sugary margaritas and you binged on the seven layer taco dip. If your intestinal discomfort the next day isn’t enough to make you change your ways, be sure to change up your tactics for the next party. The only way to change the outcome is to change your actions. If the potluck idea didn’t work, then try eating more before you go, hanging out in a place where you aren’t staring at the food table, or bringing more varied food selections, so you’re covered in the beginning, middle and the end of the party.

DIY: If you want something done right, do it yourself! If you want to indulge in creamy guacamole, spicy deviled eggs, juicy steaks and burgers, marinated chicken or pork, grilled shrimp, roasted veggies, juicy fruits, and dark chocolate, then make it happen! Host the next party, and you’ll really have no excuses. Cook foods that appeal to the majority of people at the party, buy hamburger buns for people who can’t comprehend eating meat with a knife and fork, and relax! Eat until you are full, and enjoy the leftovers. No one will miss the bad stuff, as long as you are filling them with the good stuff!

We hope you find these tips useful for your next party. If you tried them, and they worked, or you failed miserably, let us know! We’re work with you until you get it right.

Here’s a bonus recipe for a 4th of July Tuna Salad that won’t go bad in the sun (or in your belly).

Chop up 1/4 white onion, a small yellow squash and1/2 of a green pepper, into small squares. ( a little larger than ‘diced’)

Open, drain and dump the contents of 3 cans of tuna into a large bowl that has a sealed lid. Add the chopped veggies, about 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, ample amounts of olive oil, black pepper and garlic powder.

Put the lid on the bowl and shake the bowl around until the tuna has mixed with the other ingredients. Leave the tuna in large chunks instead of shredding it small, like in traditional tuna salads.

The image above is not very glamorous, it’s a fresh and colorful dish that tastes great!!

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8 Responses to For the Love of Food: Summertime Party Tips and Bonus Recipe!

  1. Pingback: Friday 7/9/10 | Derby City CrossFit - Louisville, KY

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  4. mapamundi says:

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  5. mapamundi says:

    Damn, awesome blog. I actually found this on Bing, and I am happy I did. I will definately be coming back here more often for more interesting topic. Wish I could add to the posts here and bring a bit more to the table, but am just reading as much info as I can at the moment.

  6. mapamundi says:

    thanks for this informative website. I was initially thrilled after i read your post and now have made an important membership with it. Im sure youll update this post when you’re able to since I’d like to come back for more information.

  7. Alycia says:

    Thanks!
    Glad you liked it. We post a recipe (usually with some commentary) at least once a week, about mid-week, and then over the summer and into the fall, we’ll also be posting “Baby Steps” which are single-topic posts to help you take small steps to eating perfectly.
    If you become a CrossFit Aspire fan on Facebook, you’ll see our posts right on your wall, so you don’t have to keep checking back.
    Have a great and healthy holiday weekend.

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