Dining at Someone Else’s Home

Summer BBQ is all about grilled meats and vegetables and simple, light dishes. Sure, it’s the season for outdoor parties, weddings and drinks on the patio, but compared to the stretch of comfort-food-loaded holiday festivities looming before us, it feels less daunting (especially with that beer in your hand). Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend and our U.S. neighbours will do the same in just over a month (check out my 3 hour Thanksgiving menu for inspiration!); next up are Halloween parties, holiday celebrations, New Year’s Eve dinners and other festivities like office parties, birthdays, anniversaries, and so much more merry making – that’s life. With so many food-centered events on the horizon, it’s almost enough to make your head spin and your waistline grow.

But here's the trick: keep your Eat-Clean focus tight, remember you’re in control, and you are empowered to make small but powerful choices that will allow you enjoy the amazing moments with your loved ones without going deep into junk foods. Easier said than done when you’re not the one in the kitchen and don’t have control of the dishes and ingredients before you; however, these 6 simple Eat-Clean tips put some power back in your hands while dining at others’ homes so you can stay on the path to success.

6 Eat-Clean Hacks for Dining at Someone Else’s Home:

1. Drink lots of H20! Research has shown that people who drink an 8 ounce glass of water prior to each meal are more likely to lose weight and keep it off long-term. Plus, you’re less likely to gorge yourself if you fill up on water first.

2. Skip or go easy on condiments. Avoid consuming unnecessary sodium, sugar and mysterious, hard-to-pronounce binding agents and additives by using small amounts of store-bought sauces and dressings – just enough to get a taste. Although not always offered, scratch-made condiments are a better option since you can ask the host about the ingredients.

3. Bring an Eat-Clean appetizer, side dish or dessert. Potluck style meals offer an opportunity to alleviate any potential worries you may have about indulging. Prepare a tasty Clean dish to bring and you are guaranteed at least one guilt-free option. Need a little inspiration? Head on over to my recipes page.

4. Start small and take it slow. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the sights, smells and fun of a festive meal with people you love, so before you load up your plate in celebration or gobble up a ton of apps, start with small portions of the dishes you really want. Chew slowly, savour the taste and the good company. You may realize you’re so satisfied that you don’t truly desire more!

5. Limit alcohol consumption. Save the calories for the treats you’ve been really daydreaming about. Plus, you may make food decisions you otherwise wouldn’t after one too many glasses of wine.

6. Back to business the next day! After a treat meal, it can be tempting to slide back into bad habits or make small allowances you normally wouldn’t. DON’T! That was then, this is now. If you have a workout scheduled the day after your best friend’s Halloween party but have a chocolate or mashed potatoes hangover and don’t feel like going, tough luck! I promise, you will thank yourself for resuming your Eat-Clean lifestyle as soon as possible after a festive feast.

Don’t forget to be mindful of your macros, and of course, opt for salad, vegetables, fruits, and dishes comprised of a few whole ingredients from the earth!

Do you have any tips to avoiding going overboard at parties and large meals, when you’re not the one cooking? Share them with me in the comments below, at Kitchen Table or Twitter or Facebook!

Remember, I’m always listening Tosca

PS. Show me the turkey!!

PSS. And yes, I have used and still use every one of those tips. I’m the goof with the big water bottle and my own casserole dish loaded with chicken breasts and sweet potatoes at every party. LOL!