Two things that go hand-in-hand? Picnics and (usually not-so-healthy) food. This summer, you’re likely fielding invites from pals on your street to get together for potlucks and picnics. Here are some tips to make those events fun and not fattening:
- Bring a Dish (or Two) You Can Eat. An essential component to staying on your medical weight loss plan is to make sure you have some control over the offerings. So bring some food you’ll be psyched to eat. Marinate some portabellas and eggplant in soy sauce or balsamic vinegar for the grillmaster to throw on. A big bowl of watermelon is refreshing on a hot day, yet packs few calories; chopped-up veggies or a fruit salad are always quick and easy. Avoid the temptation to bring your famous triple-chocolate cookies if you know you’re going to be eyeing them the whole party – or make a small batch and hand them out as soon as you get there. And resist the host’s offers to take home leftovers of anything!
- Size Up the Smorgasbord. As soon as you arrive, scout out the offerings and make a mental plan. Have a list of foods to “Go To” and “Keep Away.” Your Go To list might include grilled skinless chicken breast, the crudité platter, and any salad not involving mayonnaise or oil dressing. The Keep Away list will likely include anything on the dessert table, plus chips and dip, along with many of the grilled items. Also, be wary of any food you don’t know the specifics of: ‘Turkey burgers’ sound healthy, but only if they are made from skinless breast of turkey. Unless you know the cut of meat used, assume the cook went for a higher-fat selection (which, as we know, tends to be more popular!).
Also, remember: The term “Keep Away” is literal. You should make sure you are physically away from these foods at all times—at least 6 to 8 feet away. Even better, try to keep them out of your line of sight, too. Choose and position your chair accordingly so they won’t be a temptation!
- Stay Active. A great way to make sure you don’t indulge in a “Keep Away” food? Do something with your hands at the picnic! Bring your badminton rackets or a volleyball to get a little exercise, or play with the kids in the splash pool. Consider formalizing your role and offer to be the Events Coordinator. Devise a new game for each hour of the picnic and mix up the teams so that newer neighbors get to know everyone. Being creative with fun lawn games can start great traditions for years to come. They pay dividends with your medical weight loss plan and your neighborhood bonds. Enjoy!
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