Attending social events when you’re following a structured nutrition plan can often be challenging and downright confusing. Whether it’s a birthday party, work event or holiday season, there is usually a common theme throughout – food and alcohol. So how can you feel more confident attending these events without ‘going off the rails’?

Plan ahead

With summer just around the corner, this often means more outdoor events such as picnics and BBQ’s. This is a great opportunity bring a plate of food and guarantee there will be at least one nutritious meal option for you! This could include a hearty salad, a meat platter, vegetable sticks with hummus or even some homemade mini frittatas.

This, however, is not so realistic when you’re eating out at a restaurant or cafe, so it’s always good to be prepared. Have a look at the menu before you go to ensure you’re not overwhelmed by the choices upon arrival. You may also find that if you’re eating on an empty stomach, you’re more likely to overconsume. If possible, try and ensure you’ve has protein rich meals and snacks before eating out to help with hunger management.

Build a healthy plate

When choosing a nutritious meal, there are 4 things you should try and include:

  • ½ plate of low starchy vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini)
  • ¼ plate of lean protein (chicken, beef, tofu, eggs)
  • ¼ plate carbs or starchy vegetables (potato, rice, pasta, bread)
  • 1 Tb of healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts)

Examples of this could be steak/chicken/ fish with steamed vegetables, tofu stir fry and rice, chicken salad with croutons, a small thin crust pizza or a naked burger and chips.

Stay hydrated

We all know it’s important to drink water, especially as the weather starts to heat up, but did you know staying hydrated can help with more than just regulating your bodily functions? Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger, which may lead to an increased calorie intake. By drinking 2-3L of water per day, this may help reduce your feelings of hunger and limit overconsumption of food.

Consumption of high calorie liquids such as soft drink or cordial are also an easy way to unconsciously overconsume calories. When choosing soft drinks or cordials, its best to opt for a sugar free alternative if possible, this way you can still enjoy the flavour, without the added sugars.

When it comes to alcohol, choosing basic spirits with sugar free mixers, seltzers or low carb beers and ciders are better choices. However, do keep in mind that your body will prioritise burning calories from alcohol before calories from food, so limiting your drinks will give your body less opportunity to store food as fat.

Get back on track

Whether you’re able to implement these strategies at a social event or not, it’s always important to get back on track afterwards. If you do happen to overeat or choose a less nutritious option, it can be easy to fall into an ‘all or nothing’ mindset, which can make reaching your weight goals even more difficult. Try and view the event as a speed bump and not a road block. Don’t be too hard on yourself, as you always have the opportunity to make a more nutritious choice at your next meal!

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