Maintaining a healthy diet throughout the week is already difficult. Opting for a black bean salad instead of a juicy cheeseburger at your lunch hour, or serving of plain yogurt in place of an ice cream sundae for a snack takes some serious willpower. It can feel impossible to watch your diet when you arrive at a party after a long, demanding day and you're instantly surrounded by calorific starters, tempting pastries and sugary sodas. Unless you're tremendously determined and strong-willed, chances are your conscience is going to go on a holiday until the next day.
No need to fret, ladies! You don’t have to become a hermit to stay on track. I made it my mission to find out how social butterflies can maintain their diets while keeping their calendars full.
Here are some tried and tested tips to avoid derailing your diet due to busy social calendars:
1. Don’t go out on an empty stomach.
A growling stomach can throw your willpower out the window, making it much harder for you to make sensible choices. So be sure to fill up on healthy foods at home so you won’t be as tempted to eat that cream puff!
2. Set limit on the amount of calories you will consume at an event.
Make sure you set these limits realistically. If you know that your favorite crispy honey shrimp dish is going to be served, then account for it by substituting a decadent dessert for a fruit salad. If you can get a hold of the menu beforehand, plan on what you’ll eat before you get to the event. You can also try and indulge in small portions of various items on the menu instead of devouring one entree. This way, you will not feel like you’re restricting yourself.
3. Eat slowly.
Studies show that just by chewing your food longer, you’ll consume fewer calories. You will actually be able to lose 20 pounds a year without changing your diet or exercise plan; all you need to do is eat slowly. That’s preposterous, you say? Well, don’t take my word for it, this is scientifically proven. Basically, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. By eating fast, we often continue eating past the point where we are full because we do not have time to realize we are full, and so we do not stop on time to avoid excess calories. Eating slowly also lets you truly enjoy your food and the extra chewing will lead to better digestion.
4. Order a side of vegetables.
Vegetables are packed with vitamins and fiber, so you can eat as many as you want without worrying about consuming too many calories. By filling up on vegetables, you'll be less likely to overindulge.Remember to avoid dips and dressings as much as possible and choose vinaigrettes over creamy salad dressings like ranch.
5. Split a meal.
Restaurant portions in America are far larger than they need to be. Whenever possible, try to split an entrée or dessert with a friend. This way you can both enjoy something delicious without going overboard.
With a few easy steps, you can stay healthy and still be the life of the party (with that health-nut glow)!
And if eating a bowl of salad before heading out doesn’t sound appealing to you, here is a quick and delicious recipe for a stir-fry you can enjoy at home before going to events:
Hoisin Stir-fry Delight:
This will make about 3 servings, so get your friends eating healthy too; they’ll be grateful!
You will need:
- 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 pound of boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (This is optional)
- ½ a bunch broccoli, cut into bite size florets
- ½ a cup of shiitake mushrooms
- 2 carrots, sliced thinly
- ½ a green or red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ a cup of onions, diced
- ½ a cup of chicken broth (use a chicken cube if you’re short on time)
- 2 and a ½ tablespoons of hoisin sauce
- ½ a tablespoon of soy sauce
- ½ a teaspoon of ginger, chopped into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
You can find these ingredients at an Asian food store, like 99 Ranch Market. If you’ve never been to an Asian grocer, definitely check one out; it’s an interesting experience!
In a large pan, heat the vegetable and sesame oils over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, and onion and continue cooking for 4 more minutes, stirring frequently. In a medium bowl, mix the chicken broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and cornstarch. Add the mixture to the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 4 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Serve over hot, noodles (Shirataki noodles are the healthiest option)
Now go out there and live life to the fullest! And remember,
“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.” - Eleanor Roosevelt