6/28/13

Tips for 4th of July "event/holidy" eating and recipes

You name it - cook-outs, holidays, fund raiser, birthdays and weddings - food is often the central ingredient. Because of many food-centered events, it is extremely common for individuals seeking fitness, diet or body composition changes to stress about social functions due to the lack of control and unknown ingredients when it comes to eating food prepared by others.

To the disbelief of many, you can keep your body in good health and still enjoy the holiday eats. So when it comes to eating around the holiday's (ex. 4th of July) you should be able to enjoy the occasional treats without feeling guilty, restricted or frustrated but with your healthy relationship with food. That is - you should always feel better after you eat, than before. Be mindful to not overeat as we all know, it doesn't feel good and for many, when you overeat you say to yourself "I never want to do that again."
 
What to do if you are planning the event? A well-prepared event planner should always consider creating a healthy event atmosphere, being mindful that your "yuck" may be someone else's "yum."

Here are a few food tips for a great event:
  • Create a buffet of dark leafy greens with all toppings in individual dishes for guests to create their own plant-strong meals.
  • Place dressings, sauces and toppings on the side with easy-to-pour/spoon items for portion control.
  • Home-cooked desserts are often more appreciated than store-bought .
  • Use non/low-fat plain yogurt, fruit purees and applesauce to lower the fat and calorie content when baking with oil, butter, eggs or sour cream. Ex. replace 1 cup butter with ½ cup butter and ¼ cup non-fat yogurt or instead of 1 cup oil, use ½ cup oil and 3/8 cup non-fat yogurt (1).
  • Add veggies and fruit (ex. carrots, zucchinis, apples) to dips, sauces, baked goods and anything else that can become more powerful in nutrition.
  • For every starchy appetizer, double the number of fresh fruit and veggie selections. Ex. for a bowl of pita chips, have a dish of seasonal fruit and a veggie plate of bell peppers.
  • Use smaller utensils for serving higher-calorie options such as nuts/trail mix, casseroles, dips etc.
  • Limit the punch and soda and allow guests to make their own spritzers with sparkling water and 100% fruit juice varieties. Place water at every seating area for your guests to stay hydrated without the calories.
  • Although smaller plates certainly reduce portion size, it is hard to eat a plant strong meal on a 4" plate. Provide larger bowls close to the plant-strong options and use smaller plates near the more calorie-dense options.
  • Label food items by their name or ingredients, particularly for those who have dietary intolerances or any other restrictions.
  • Focus on variety (plant and animal proteins, healthy fats, whole grains and of course, lots of fruits and veggies).
  • Don't overwhelm your guests with too many new overwhelm your guests with too many new food options but at the same time, introduce others to a few new flavors by preparing a home-cooked dish inspired by your favorite blog or cookbook, rather than purchasing a dish at your local grocery store.
  1. Source: http://tgcmagazine.com/articles/74.shtml
 
(article written by me from a past Iron Girl article)
 
Looking for a few good recipes for the upcoming 4th of July holiday?
CLICK HERE for 3 of my delicious creations, including my watermelon salad, fresh bean salad and Red, White and Blue inspired shortcake.