Healthy Eating: Birthday Celebrations!
Written By: Heather Gerrish, MS, RDN
With any celebration, what comes to mind? Happy times? Memories? Sweet treats? Maybe all of the above? Life is full of wonderful things to celebrate - and with good reason! But what happens we celebrate a bit *too* much? How do you feel/how do you incorporate celebration into your routine without feeling left out AND feeling confident that you are implementing a sustainable (and reasonable) to focus on your health?
That’s a lot to ask of anyone - but taking one step at a time and reviewing some of the pertinent steps that can help you along the way is a good way to start!
The first step is preparing (a little) for your event. Is this a recurring celebration (or maybe you have more than one planned in a short period of time)? What is the degree of celebration are you planning (a full out mega-party or small get together)? This will provide you with greater insight on how and what to plan for and anticipate - of course, things happen and you can’t plan for every possible scenario - it’s more for creating awareness and at minimum having an outline of how you are making [insert celebration here] work in your long term nutrition practice.
Once you establish and can *somewhat anticipate what to expect, the next step is to start your plan and what you are going to prioritize.
*life is full of surprises, and when rolling with change you have to adapt quickly - that’s where being well equipped with both a plan and being flexible comes in handy!
Some aspects to consider when conducting this “evaluation” is what the environment might be like. These are additional questions you might ask yourself:
Are you bringing a dish or helping prepare/influence the offered menu?
What will your day look like around the celebration? (Busy, at work, relaxed?)
What are you looking forward to (seeing friends, food, treats?)
Taking inventory of these questions will help you create a plan and will help you to focus on the aspects of the celebration you want to enjoy and maybe indulge a little, where other aspects you might skip and/or not hold as much importance to you.
First, using this method to take inventory of your anticipated celebration and how you plan to implement healthy balance in enjoying your time out and having fun, but also check in and make sure you are in control and taking charge of the situation and not let the situation take the driver's seat.
Plan to pick a healthy snack and ensure that you have something beforehand to alleviate any stress or hanger leading up to your celebration.
Select your treat with intention and enjoy it! Celebrations are a part of life, and by using these tools and checking in - as well as continuing to modify and adjust your nutrition practice as your needs change is just as important as “staying on track”.
Let’s put this into practice:
Scenario 1 -You are going to a Birthday party for a close friend and you were in charge of bringing light snacks and also the sweet treats.
Pack a healthy, filling snack (source of lean protein, complex carbohydrates) before the event
Stay hydrated! (Bring your own water bottle or flavored water of choice to share)
Pick your treat and savor it - enjoy the moment and celebrate! Life is unpredictable - and being flexible and enjoying the little things is important!
If you have this mindset moving forward and as you celebrate, integrate mindfulness and recognize that changing your relationship with food and including celebrations in your nutrition practice is not only perfectly acceptable - but welcomed, you will be well on your way to developing a sustainable, long term nutrition plan!