When we think about eating healthier, it’s easy to think that all treats are off limits. This can make it particularly difficult when you’re heading out to social occasions where we’ll be surrounded by delicious food and temptation! As a result, we often throw the idea in the ‘too hard basket’ and go back to treating ourselves.
When it comes to trying to eat better, you might be the kind of person that try to adopt the ‘all or nothing’ approach, which can lead to a complicated cycle of deprivation and binging. The truth is, following a healthy eating-pattern is not about depriving yourself of things you enjoy – the key is all in the balance.
Five tips for eating healthily on social occasions:
1. Avoid skipping meals:
Regular meals keep you full throughout the day, so you’re less likely to over-eat at the next meal due to hunger.
2. Plan ahead:
If you tend to get peckish between meals, have some snacks on hand (e.g. fruit, yoghurt or nuts) to stop yourself from making impulsive food purchases you will later regret.
3. Know your limits:
If you can’t resist having snacks or treats in the house then buy small, fun-size portions and limit the supply of these in the house.
When dining out, share a dessert with friends rather than having a full serving on your own.
4. Be kind to yourself!
Try not to see foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but know that particular foods are healthier than others.
If you feel you have eaten too much of the ‘occasional’ food, don’t start calling yourself a failure and throw all that hard work away. Look at what you can do differently next time if a similar situation occurs.
5. Eat mindfully:
Take your time to enjoy each mouthful of your treat, whether it be at a social event or when alone. Let it digest and use this time to socialise with friends and family as this will allow your body to feel satisfied before you jump up for another one!
This also applies to alcoholic drinks (as it can stimulate your appetite) - sip on your drinks slowly, enjoying each mouthful. Share nibbles with friends if you do get hungry and alternate alcoholic drinks with water.
At the end of the day, it’s okay to enjoy the finer (or sweeter!) things in life! Just remember to enjoy treats in moderation and enjoy the journey – appreciate how far you’ve come and the hard-work you’ve put in. Don’t give up. Overtime, the thought-process will become easier and you will be able see that the idea of healthy eating doesn’t need to be so ‘black and white’.