I’m not sure about you, but potlucks have always been a part of my life. Whether it was working in a call center, where it’s ALWAYS someone’s birthday lol, or family and friends. These tend to increase 10 fold over the holiday season.
Add in a Friendsgiving, a Secret Santa or White Elephant, that Halloween carnival at the kids school, or a work celebration, and every week you’ll be facing yet another one!
I love celebrating, I love cooking, and I love food. So as you can imagine, I’m a fan of potlucks =P
Losing 110 pounds came with some small changes, so that I could still enjoy the potluck events, and stay on track with my fitness goals. I wanted to share them with you here:
1) Feed Your Needs First: Always plan to bring something YOU want to eat. Don’t fall into the trap of the sign up sheet. You can bring whatever you want. I figure, if no one wants it, I get to take it home, and yay more healthy goodness for me. I love things like fun salads. Not lettuce ones, but like quinoa based (Costco has a great one you can buy or make on your own, recipe here), or my favorite tomato cumber one, etc.
2) Plan Your Plate: Scan everything on the table and make the choices before you get in line. Zoom in on your healthy options, think about how you can make a balanced plate. I realize it’s a potluck, so some of that apple crumble is probably going to end up on your plate, I get it, but it doesn’t have to be ALL sugar. Shoot for a balanced plate from the start.
3) Don’t be First in Line: Don’t run to the table and be first. As people start grabbing the unhealthy foods, there will be a lot of the healthy ones left. Also, as things are dug into, and picked over, they might look less appealing than they did from the start, which may help you turn them down.
4) Tell People Your Goals: Be vocal about your lifestyle. Don’t tell people you’re “on a diet” or things like that, because most people will sabotage the crap out of you to feel better about their own choices. You’ll hear stuff like “oh one bite won’t help” or “you can start that in January”. Instead, try saying you’re in a “challenge” or it’s something “your doctor” has you on. Something people won’t argue with. This will get them off your back AND force you to stay on track.
*Note: Most people don’t want the accountability because they don’t really want to stay on track. It’s uncomfortable, but it does work!
5) Eat Before You Go: For Pete’s sake do not walk into a potluck starving! I recommend not making this your “meal” and then saving up all your calories / portions to go nuts. The same way you should never walk into a grocery store hungry, you should never do it here either, or you’re going to stuff your face. I personally drink my Shakeology before I go, because with water alone, it’s really light, and I can still eat withing 30 minutes or so, but it curbs cravings for sweets and junk, so it helps me stay on track.
6) Fruits and Veggies are King: But don’t forget the protein! Yes, we all know that the sad, possibly expired veggie tray, is the go-to cop out potluck thing, and no one eats it all haha. The fruit tray is right above that, and I always appreciate that my friends know to have those around when I come to their parties, but those are not always the only good choices. Protein will keep you full longer! Most the time there will be a meat tray, some little smokies, or some meatballs you can get your hands on, and they will also mentally feel like more substance.
7) Keep a Beverage in Your Hand: I’m a social drinker and snacker. That means, if my hands are busy, I don’t really know what is in them, just as long as they are full. I smoked for years too, and really went for it when I was chatting. I just like the distraction I guess. I’ve learned that cup in my hand, with a straw, or stir stick, keeps my hands busy. Usually just water, or sparkling water, and fruit, but my mind doesn’t really care what it is. Your hands won’t be looking for another plate or snack.
8) Avoid Alcohol Until After the Food: Or better yet, avoid it all together. It’s been proven many times, that drinking before you eat, increases how much you eat. It’s just a fact. That means, if you are going to be drinking, you should eat first, and drink second! I know a lot of times the drink is offered right when you walk in, that’s okay, just say something polite about looking forward to one after you eat, and do the food first. You’ll also be less likely to go overboard on alcohol, if you start drinking on a full stomach. You can also skip it all together, and go the club soda and lime route, and save calories that way.
9) If You Don’t Love It, Don’t Finish It: Just because you put it on your plate doesn’t mean you are now in a long term committed relationship with this food item. Try it, take 2 bites, if it isn’t amazing, skip it! It isn’t worth the calories to clean your plate, and if you actually watch, people rarely do. No one is going to be offended about you not eating their dish, and as my good friend Bethany says, you’re not eating your feelings OR their feelings today, so too bad.
10) Don’t Sit Right Next to the Food: Now if you’re at work, and they put the table next to your desk, you might be SOL lol, but in most cases you control your seat. Sit far away and you won’t be within arms reach of a quick grab, and you’ll have to get up and cross the room to get to the food. Most likely that will keep you in your seat, especially if the people you are with, know you’re making healthy choices with your food right now!
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