Our social calendar is stuffed full with graduations, birthdays, and BBQs for the next few months. And while I LOVE spending time with the people, the food situation is my worst nightmare: burnt meat everywhere, packaged onion dips, chips laced with every food additive imaginable, mayo drenched potato and pasta salads, drinks, drinks, drinks, and not a single vegetable in sight... well if I am lucky there is some GMO corn.
This is not at all dissing you who is putting on these events, or making it seem like I am the pickiest guest to have around. It's just that when I eat this kind of food, I feel it in my body the next day. My worry isn't so much my waistline, it's much more my mood the next morning when I feel depressed, and want to tear my husband's head off. When I feel so exhausted that I can barely get to my daughter's room to lift her out of bed. And when all I want to do is drown my sorry ass in more mayo-drenched pasta salad. It's a downward spiral, and before I know it the summer is over, and I didn't even get to have fun running through the garden hose, building sand castles, and going for hikes. I love to be active in the summer, and enjoy every moment I can outdoors with Baby Zand. But when I eat foods that don't support my active lifestyle, I honestly just feel like crap. And I am pretty sure you have experienced the same! So how do we survive this summer party season? We still want to hang out with friends and family, and we don't want to be a pain in the ass and not get invited back next time. Here are my 5 top tips to making it through the party season healthy:
1. Always offer to bring a salad!
And when I say salad, I don't just mean lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. Make a really substantial salad like this fig artichoke salad with quinoa or summer corn black bean salad. This way, if there is nothing else you can eat, you can fill up on these, and not be tempted to eat foods that don't agree with you. Make it fun and colorful, so everyone will at least want to try it. And if they love it, bonus points for you!
2. Have a green smoothie before you go
This may seem counter intuitive, but have a green smoothie before you leave the house. When I enter a party starving, I will hoover up anything in sight: chips, dips, cookies, bread, bread, and more bread. And this happens before the main dishes are even served. Once at a dinner party I ate Doritos chips, bread and cheese, mayo drenched pasta salad, and a curry with rice. Just thinking about it makes me sick. Ok, I may have also been pregnant at the time, but you get my point :-): fill up before you leave the house! A green smoothie is perfect. You can just make a bit extra in the morning, and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to devour it. I usually sip on mine while getting ready. It's so nutrient dense that you will have an instant energy boost. You will feel full with all the extra fiber from the fruit and veggies. And you will be in the right mindset to make better choices at the party. Win, win, win!
3. To drink or not to drink?
This has to be a decision made before you go. Why? Because you can easily get talked into "just another drink". I choose not to drink at parties, mainly because I am also running after a toddler, and really since I was pregnant I just can't handle alcohol anymore - as in I pass out asleep a few minutes later. However, if you are totally ok with it, go ahead and enjoy that drink! Choose one kind of alcohol, and stick to it. Mixing your alcohol is asking for disaster. If it's a party during the day, choose lighter, crisper drinks with less sugar, for example white wine or mojito without the sugar. Sugar, sun, and alcohol just don't mesh well, and will just guarantee a hangover the next day.
4. Stay hydrated the whole time
Whether you choose to enjoy some alcohol or not, staying hydrated is super important at any summer party. Always have water in your hand to sip on. This will help to pace you when snacking on all the food options, as well as slowing down your alcohol intake. If you are not a fan of plain water, check out some of my favorite flavored water recipes - hello pink vitamin water!
5. Don't be that weirdo!
This is the most important tip of all. Yes, you may eat a certain way to support your energy and glow, but don't bore people with the details of your detox juices. Most people feel intimidated when they hear about all the things you may be making yourself in the kitchen. And no one wants that party pooper around, who continuously says "oh no, I can't eat that!" You will make the host and the other guests feel incredible awkward around you. If you don't care about getting invited back, go ahead and tell them all about the amazing acai bowl you whipped up for breakfast. But most probably you truly care about these people, so lay low and share your vegan-paleo-sugar free- escapades with a friend at yoga class or on your next run. If someone asks you why you don't want to eat the meat, bread, etc, just let them know that you feel better if you don't eat it. End of the conversation. Parties are truly about spending time with the people, so don't worry too much about the foods that are being served. Be yourself, have fun, and don't forget the sunscreen!