Here are some ways for you to keep track of what you eat and be your own personal food coach when you go out to eat or are invited to a party.
Always have a light snack a few hours before arriving at a party. If you turn up having starved yourself all day, you’re more likely to become a permanent fixture at the buffet table, and will almost certainly overindulge when faced with a mountain of delicious food. (You’re also in danger of feeling the effects of drinking sooner, as there’ll be nothing in your stomach to absorb the alcohol.) Try and have a decent-sized breakfast and a substantial lunch the day of a party.
Avoid the boom/bust way of thinking. Plan to eat two to three moderate-sized snacks rather than throwing your good intentions out of the window and gorging on kilojoule-laden foods. Thinking: ‘I’ve blown it now, I may as well carry on’ is a fast track to more sausage rolls – and rolls of fat around your middle!
Don’t skip meals to allow for drinks – alcohol lowers sugar levels, which in turn triggers hunger, and you know what happens then. Yep, you end up with a late-night takeaway full of kilojoules! Much better to have a proper meal before you go out drinking.
Alternate water or diet soft drinks with alcohol. Not only do you save empty kilojoules, you’ll also avoid the problem of having to apologise for bad behaviour!
Watch your portions; it’s easier to stick to small ones if you aren’t starving. But don’t fall into the trap of having a small portion of something, then going back and getting another small portion, and another… it all adds up!
Don’t hover, stand or constantly drift towards the buffet table – you’ll end up constantly picking, nibbling or munching on tasty morsels and will quickly forget just how much you’ve eaten. The easiest way to control the amount you eat is to fill your plate just once, and then move away from the food.
Avoid the temptation by keeping your hands full if canapés or nibbles are constantly being offered to you while you’re chatting. A napkin in one hand and a glass in the other should do the trick. Or keep your hands busy by taking plates of canapés or snacks around for other guests.
Pass on pre-dinner nibbles: a handful of roasted nuts will add 1 260 kJ to your intake before you even sit down at
Say you’re too full for dessert, or, if you can’t refuse, pass on the cream or ice cream, and try to eat just three mouthfuls before sliding your plate to one side (the first few mouthfuls taste best). Or agree beforehand that your partner or friend won’t mind if you have a spoonful from their plate.
If you’re the cook:
- Serve crudités with dips such as reduced-fat hummus or tzatziki rather than nuts.
- Choose your cheeseboard carefully. Brie, Camembert and Edam contain fewer kilojoules than Cheddar, Stilton and Red Leicester. But goat’s cheese is the best one of all at just 277 kJ per 25g (Cheddar’s 435 kJ). Chunks of French bread and butter or a handful of cream crackers will double the kilojoules. Instead, go for water biscuits or breadsticks – and fill up on grapes, celery and fruit.