Eating: How to Enjoy Buffet Food at Parties

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     You spend hours bathing and dressing for a great party then you arrive and you dread the buffet table and you avoid it. This does not have to happen if you take general steps and make the decision to enjoy food.

      As the party invitations arrive via the mailbox or e-mail, place each invitation in a folder marked “To Read and Respond”. Once or twice a week you can decide which parties/gatherings to attend, if you need to confirm by mail, e-mail, or telephone, and how to politely declined any invitations. By performing this action, you can understand the theme of the party, guess which foods/drinks will be served, and ,depending on your relationship with the host/hostess, see if you can provide your own specialty dish.

      Eat 60 to 90 minutes before going to a party. This helps you by keeping your mind away from food and it allows you to choose a nutritional meal/snack. Some options are nuts like almonds, peanuts, and walnuts since each offers no cholestral and lower sodium depending on the brand. Also, a bowl of oatmeal contains fiber which causes the body to feel full. For a drink, an 8 oz glass of water is a good idea with a slice of orange, lime, or lemon. Hence, your body should not fill an intense hunger once you arrive at the party.

     Keep your distance from the buffet table for 30 minutes. This gives you time to mingle with your host/hostess, renew old friendships, and meet new people. Your mind and body remains occupied so the need for food is not an issue. Also, recall any progress made with your healthy eating habits like more energy, better sleep, and increased food/nutrition knowledge.

     Review the buffet table for 5 minutes. This allows the time to know which foods are offered, the amount you want to eat, and decide how you want to combine the foods on your plate. For instance, lean meat, chicken, fish, and legumes are good choices since they provide protein which provides for growth and tissue repair. Choose the dark green ones such as collards, kale, mustard greens, and spinach. These choices offer vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, B, C, calcium, folate, and iron.

     Choose a healthy dessert like fresh, seasonal fruit or a low-fat, low-calorie pie or cake (sometimes the baker tells you what ingredients he/she used). If unsure of the ingredients used in the pie/cake, eat half of the typical slice so you can enjoy it without depriving yourself and you can skip the ice cream or whip cream. Meanwhile, for drinks, stick with water and skip caffeine found in soda and fruit punch. A non-alcohol drink is better than alcohol which has empty calories.

    After the party, take a few minutes to recall what you ate. If you did go overboard, do not feel guilty, you can always cut back on a few favorite foods for one or two days and go back to your healthy meals. Remember, a party is a celebration whether an anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas and you do not enjoy any of these daily so relax and enjoy the moment.

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