A running joke among the Oldways staff is that I have become a “professional bridesmaid,” and with this honor come many celebrations and parties. Because the Mediterranean Diet has had such an impact on my life, when I take the reins as the planner for these types of parties, I am able to incorporate a healthy twist.
But many times, when I am not at the party planning helm, it is a challenge to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout all the celebrations. Thankfully, the Mediterranean Diet is a complete lifestyle and not a fad diet and is here to guide me. Following a Mediterranean lifestyle has taught me about moderation and the healthy, wholesome foods that I can eat and enjoy all the time and, the great news is that it also includes sweets and treats at the top of the pyramid, to be enjoyed (albeit less often) with friends and family.
With all the showers, bachelorettes, weddings (and now even baby showers!) I have to navigate, it is important to have a plan. Here are a few tips I use to enjoy all these events while avoiding overindulging:
- Don’t be hangry! Make sure you don’t arrive at a functions starving. I have found the hungrier I am, the less self control I have when making food choices at parties. Try to have a small snack before you arrive so you aren’t ravenously raiding the spread.
- Eat Whole Grains! With whole grains gaining popularity and the health benefits becoming more well known, I have noticed more grain salads popping up as part of party spreads. They are delicious and a great way to fill up and feel satiated without going to overboard.
- Stick to seafood! When eaten in its purist form, seafood is a naturally low-calorie food. Oysters, lobsters, crab, clams all pop up at summer parties and if they aren’t fried or mixed with heavy sauces, they can be a great option.
- Look for veggies! I’m not saying you have to ditch the chips and crackers all together, but if you fill your plate with crudités and try to fill up on them before hitting the rest of the buffet, you can reserve your splurges for the special treats.
- Fruit for dessert! In the summer months especially, fruits are so juicy and enticing that you hardly ever need anything else to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you can’t resist the sweets, make sure you are indulging in things that are worth it to you.
- Stay hydrated! Make sure you stay hydrated to gauge your real hunger. In moderation, wine is a healthy component of the Mediterranean Diet, but be sure to keep it to a couple glasses at these events and drink water or other hydrating beverages.
With all this being said, it is important to remember that the Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle that stresses the importance of enjoying food and wine with family and friends. Life is too short to restrict yourself completely, but make sure you are mindful of your intake if you are a perpetual party-goer like me!