Party Prep

By Shani Petroff

Office celebrations, parties, get-togethers, drinks, dinners, and other invitations seem to pour in over the holidays. For me, it turns into a love/hate affair. I love getting together with friends and family, catching up, and being invited out, but I hate the struggle I have with food at all of these functions.

At a large gathering, the choice of venue and menu are largely out of my hands. Since I still want to attend, and I’m not at a point where I can count on my willpower to get me through the night without going over my SmartPoints® Target for the week, I’ve come up with a plan to handle these events:

Eat Beforehand.
I’ll make sure to have healthy, low SmartPoints value meals (i.e. omelet for breakfast, sushi for lunch) before the party. I’ll also keep a ginormous bag of cut-up vegetables with me, that I’ll make a point of snacking on throughout the day. That way, by the time I get to the party, I’ll feel full and less inclined to go for the sweets at the party. My willpower tends to be lower when I’m hungry.

Bring Something Healthy.
If the party is at someone’s apartment or in the office, instead of adding to the collection of baked goods or chocolate, I’ll bring a fruit or vegetable platter. It tends to be a little pricier than making a batch of cookies, but it’s worth it — because I know there will be something I can munch on that won’t put me over my SmartPoints budget.

Study the Menu.
If the party is at a restaurant, I’ll go in with a plan. I’ll look over the menu ahead of time and decide what I’m going to eat and drink. And if it’s at a place where I don’t know exactly what they’re serving, I’ll still have a plan. I’ll know how many SmartPoints values I want to use, and I’ll allow for a small indulgence or two. BUT, I’ll make sure those indulgences are worth it. I’ll only go for the ones that really make my mouth water, and I won’t jump on the first snacks I see. I’ll check out my options before choosing. If I just grab the first two things I lay eyes on, and then something better comes along (i.e., I’m a huge fan of chocolate peppermint bark, especially this time of year), I know I’ll wind up eating that too, and that I don’t want to do.

Carry a Clutch.
At a lot of these functions, there’s no formal seating. People are eating while walking around. That’s a lot harder to do when your hands are full. So, I’m going to carry a little clutch. That means I will only have one hand free. I won’t be able to hold a glass and a plate at the same time. I will still manage to eat, but it will slow me down, and hopefully give me time to think about my eating choices and if what I’m about to take is worth it.

Be Social.
I can be shy at functions where I don’t know too many people, and it’s easy to hide out at the food table or the bar, but I’m not there to eat and drink. I’m there to socialize. So I’m going to try and force myself out of my comfort zone and make myself talk to strangers. Instead of eating and drinking, I can talk and listen and engage. Then, maybe, not only will I stay within my SmartPoints budget, but also I’ll meet some new people! It will be a win-win.

I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on Connect at @shani!

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