Planning to Indulge
By Liz Cornell, RD
If you’re like most people, you have no idea what you’re going to eat for dinner when you wake up in the morning. If this is true, then you are not putting the odds in your favor you need to eat healthy and lose weight. There’s truth in the saying, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Because if you’re not planning your meals, it’s difficult to eat in a way that supports good health.
Learning to plan for holidays, birthdays, graduations, picnics, and family celebrations can save you lots of calories and guilt later on. That’s because these special occasions all have one thing in common. They tend to center around food, whether it be a full course meal or snacks and appetizers.
If you know you are going to a party or get together later in the day, plan your meals accordingly. Eating a smaller breakfast and lunch will save you calories for when you slightly indulge at the party later that day. Light meal options for breakfast might include a Greek yogurt, hardboiled eggs, almonds and string cheese stick, or cottage cheese and fruit. These options are full of protein so even though they are light, they will keep you feeling full for hours. Light options for lunch might include tuna fish salad, chicken salad, seafood salad or egg salad with a leaf lettuce wrap. Other ideas to have for lunch when you know you will be indulging later on in the day are lean sliced turkey rolled up with string cheese stick in the center and some mustard, or a high protein cup of soup with some vegetables. Again these are full of protein and will keep you feeling full until you arrive at your party. Protein supplements such as protein bars or protein shakes are also a good option to use in place of one or two meals in order to keep the calorie intake low for the day. That leaves you extra calories to indulge in later on.
If possible, bring your own healthy dish to the party that you have prepared yourself and that you can have. This way you can guarantee yourself that there will be at least one low calorie option for you to have rather than relying on other people to bring something. Get a small plate and fill the plate with appetizers or snacks and only have the serving that will fit on the plate. Stay away from the food table area and instead focus on conversation with good friends and family. This way you are less tempted to keep returning for more servings of snacks.
By doing these simple things, it will help set you up for a successful “indulgence” that will still enable you to stick to your healthy food choices and not overdo it with calories.