SOCIAL EATING WHEN TRACKING MACROS
Whether you are tracking macros, counting calories, or just trying to eat healthier, it can be tough to stick to your nutrition goals when navigating social situations. If you are going to a dinner party, a work lunch, or a family party, taking a few extra minutes to plan ahead can help you enjoy your event without stressing over your food.
If you know you have an event coming up, it is always helpful to plan out your day ahead of time. If you have a general idea of what you’ll be eating later in the day, pre-plan by factoring those foods into your MFP first thing in the morning. Even if you are just estimating what you’ll eat later, you will then have a good idea of what you need to eat the rest of the day. Then you can focus on filling the rest of your day with lean protein, high-volume carbs, and lower fat options that will allow you to maximize your wiggle room for the day’s festivities.
Your day could looks something like this:
BREAKFAST || egg white and veggie scramble or nonfat greek yogurt and fruit
SNACKS || chopped veggies with dip; cottage cheese; rice cakes and turkey; half of an apple and PB2
LUNCH || grilled chicken salad or a turkey wrap on a high-fiber tortilla
By keeping your day lighter you will have more flexibility to enjoy more calorie-dense foods during your event.
That being said...
DON’T GO OUT ON AN EMPTY STOMACH!
Chances are all intentions of staying on track will go out the window if you are hungry and surrounded by treats and junk food. Make sure to have a mini-meal before you leave the house so you can curb your hunger and don’t show up hangry and ready to eat everything in sight.
DURING THE MEAL
Whether you’re going out for a meal or to a party with a buffet of options:
Load your plate up with veggies and lean protein options first.
If you are going out to eat, start with a salad and add chicken or shrimp for added protein. If you are eating buffet- or potluck-style, try to still fill your plate up with veggies, fruit, and lean protein first. If you’re going to a party where you need to bring a dish, make sure to bring something that works for you!
Once you’ve loaded up on that first plate, take some time to assess your hunger levels before you head back for more calorie-dense treats.
Have a game plan.
Make some rules for yourself before you go out. Maybe it’s limiting yourself to only one drink, maybe it’s waiting a full 30 minutes after dinner before digging into the desserts. Either way, sticking to your personal rules can help keep yourself in check and help you avoid the “screw it, I already messed up” mentality that is so easy to have when you’re out of your routine.
As you eat, do your best to stay in touch with how you are feeling. Be aware of when you are hungry and pay attention to your fullness cues. Staying in control in certain social situations takes practice, but it is key to finding balance!
Find a buddy
who can help you stay on track. It can be a spouse, a friend who is with you at the event, or just a person you can shoot a quick text to in a time of need. If nothing else, you can always chat things over with your coach and make sure you have a game plan beforehand!
While the goal here is balance, we all have trigger foods that can cause trouble for us and may need to be avoided. Do your best to skip the trigger foods and choose different options when possible. If having a bite of your favorite chocolate cake will inevitably lead to eating multiple pieces of cake, go for a half of a brownie or cookie instead.
Feeling comfortable eating in social settings can be hard and changing old eating habits takes time. Start small. Make a game plan and try to stick to it. Ask for help when you need it. And most of all, focus on enjoying time with family and friends over stressing about what you’re eating.
What are your biggest hang-ups when it comes to eating at social events while tracking macros? Ask us in the comments below!