I was just saying on the weekend that I find summer can be quite challenging when it comes to healthy eating. Yes, there are so many fantastic fruits and veggies, but there are also so many potlucks, BBQs and get togethers…and ice cream, let’s not forget about that either. But, if you’re smart about it, you can enjoy these events without going overboard. I don’t always succeed, but here are a few tips from yesterday’s church BBQ.
1. Be smart about what you bring. Yes, you may be thinking, “this would be a great time to make that killer recipe for _____ (insert favourite calorically rich dish here),” and yes, it might be, but why not bring something that you KNOW will be both healthy AND delicious, since you have no way of knowing exactly what will be available. Everyone had to bring a dessert and a salad, so I made a nice healthy ranch/broccoli slaw (basically the same as this one) with all light ingredients, loads of veggies, and fresh herbs for flavour. And for dessert? Hungry Girl’s cheesecake brownies.
2. Eat smart before. I do try and “save my calories’” for a food-centred event like a BBQ, but I don’t want to show up starving. So for lunch, I opted for a delicious, satisfying and veggie-packed meal: HG Girl-fredo with LOADS of veggies, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese, with a vanilla iced coffee and a sugar free candy for “dessert.” Filled me up nicely without weighing me down.
3. Go bun-less. If you look at the photo of my plate, you’ll see a nice juicy sausage with lots of sauerkraut and no bun. Someone asked me if I was off bread or something like that. I (truthfully) answered no, and said that a bun’s a bun, and I’d rather have more dessert. Honestly, you can have a bun anywhere, right? And while I’d have one if I was cooking the meal at home for myself, I would have a bun, but at an event where there are lots of tasty sides and desserts to choose from, why not have more of those and forget the bun. Plus, the sausage was so tasty that I really didn’t miss it.
4. Be selective on the salads. Of course, there will be the creamy calorie bombs, but thankfully, yesterday there were many healthier options to choose from. I took a very small portion of Caesar, and then loaded up on my salad and a few others like bean, berry and spinach, and tomato and cucumber with feta (confession: I went back for a more of a few of those, and also had a *tiny* serving of the marshmallow/pineapple/orange salad….LOVE that stuff). And sorry the photo’s not the greatest. I was in a rush, as at events like that, I don’t love being that weird girl snapping pics of her food, so I was trying to get ‘er done quick.
5. Fruit first. When it comes to dessert, if there’s fruit, GET SOME! I also found a jello/berry angel food cake that looked good, as well as one of my brownies and a couple jube jubes (confession: went back for more watermelon, and a few tiny bits and bites of other things). We all know by now that Hilary is NOT a happy camper if she doesn’t get dessert. So, of course I’m gonna take some, I just have to choose wisely.
Now, I know people will say, “it’s not all about the food, try and focus on the people there and talking with them” (which I do)…..but let’s be honest: it’s a church picnic. It IS all about the food. So enjoy it, be smart, and if you DO go overboard (which I have done on more than one occasion), tomorrow’s a brand new day!
How are you successful at potlucks and summer events?