1. Don’t go hungry. Don’t go to a party hungry. This seems simple to say but is often not easy to accomplish. The problem with being hungry when you arrive at the party is that your body wants something quick to fill the tank. For most of us, this results in reaching for the sweets, cakes, and chips. Why is this a problem? Simple sugars are broken down very quickly, similar to way small sticks burn quickly in a campfire. If you overload the fire with too much small wood, it burns very hot but also very fast. In our bodies, repeated abuse can overload our body’s ability to manage the sugar and compromise it’s mechanisms for breaking it down. It’s easy to overeat at this point as your body’s appetite response is slower than the calorie load you’re hitting it with. Therefore, by the time your body tells you that you’re full, you’ve already eaten too much. A better solution is to have a meal replacement shake 45 minutes prior to the party. This may not fill you up entirely but will help curb the sugar cravings.
Reach for foods high in fiber. These foods are usually not the ‘fun’ foods, so you’ll have to be a bit disciplined here. These are the fruit and vegetables trays. In general fresh is best. One caution though; try to avoid overdoing it with the dips as these can be loaded with sugars and unhealthy fats. Why fibrous foods? Fiber is slower burning and leaves you with a fuller feeling. You’ll tend to overeat less if you’re feeling full. Fun fact: The food highest in fiber per weight is raspberries.
3. Portion control. Practice portion control by using a smaller plate and limit the portions to a fist-sized bit. This will do two things; it will slow down how fast you are eating and it will limit how many of chips you can fit on your plate. It can take your body 20-45 minutes to let your brain know you’re full. By then, it’s possible to have consumed literally hundreds of calories and then overeat.
4. Protein. Search out foods high in protein. Typically parties are loaded with carbs and are scarce on protein. Meat of any type is a good choice, especially fish as it’s usually not coupled with fat like beef and pork often can be. Avoid beef, pork, or chicken that’s coated with sauce as it’s easier to disguise the fat and add extra carbs. Choose sliced or whole meats versus ground as it’s easier to discern the fat. Animals harbor toxins in their fat just like we do, so try to minimize your consumption of these as best you can.
Have fun and enjoy the game!