Summer … the fun just doesn’t seem to end! Lucky us. Fun-filled days, late sunny nights, backyards, sunset cruises, barefeet BBQ’s— the socializing is endless—and they inevitably all revolve around food, but mostly drink. So what’s an early riser like me suppose to do?
The key becomes planning intelligently. A little self-control coupled with these eight strategies helps navigate any social function with grace, dignity and no morning-after regret.
1. I eat before I go.
You know how most social events go. They start late, usually they are standard fare, or the main dish contains dairy, wheat or crazy hidden fats.
Once you arrive, you’re starving, your mingling and mindlessly enjoying whatever passed appetizers are flowing. Before you know it you have filled up the things that make you feel, well, aweful!
I always eat before I go—smoothies, a handful of slow-roasted nuts or a huge fresh salad—help curb the appetite and cravings so the focus is on great conversation rather than all those mini passed pastries.
2. Once through and I’m done.
All-you-can-eat doesn’t mean you should. Whether it’s your summer family picnic, another night of entertaining and big dinners or a brunch buffet, fill your plate once and fill it with colours of the rainbow— and step away from the food table.
3. I am mindful and examine my habits
What is a social occasion without a glass of wine in hand? Or is it just that? The glass. We are habitual creatures and most of the time we are just handed a drink and we sip away. But have you ever really examined your habits and became mindful of what you do. Are you enroute for another before the first is already finished? For many of us, one drink leads to 2 which leads to 3. Before you freshen up your drink, freshen up the way you think about drinking in general and slow it down.
4. I Lighten Up
- Reduce alcohol intake by one to two drinks per day/night, and I add in delicious alcohol-free spritzers or elixirs.
- For every drink consumed, I follow with 2 glasses of water.
- Take advantage of the seasonal summer ingredients and replace an alcoholic beverages with a smoothie, soda water with fruit, or mocktail. After the first party doing this, I have yet to feel deprived.
5. I’m a taster.
Deprivation does not work. If you abstain from a dessert you love all the time, you will eventually over indulge and eat too much. So rather than passing on it all together, enjoy a couple bites—and step away from the dessert.
Not every indulgence warrants the three-bite rule. Remember that even a little gluten or other food you are intolerant to can derail your efforts, so proceed accordingly.
6. I keep my hands full.
Empty hands at a cocktail party makes grabbing random, mindless nibbles all too easy, especially when you’re a bit relaxed from a glass of wine. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself mindlessly reaching for yet another passed bite. That’s why I keep a clutch in one hand and mineral water in the other. Guys, you can sub an iPhone or another electronic gadget for the clutch. Just don’t check your text messages every five minutes!
7. I give myself a curfew.
Sun sets late in summer and dinner parties carry way past, especially when the drinks are flowing. But that doesn’t mean I need to keep up. I give myself a solid curfew before I arrive to ensure seven hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep. Lately I am the first one to leave. And I don’t feel bad about it either.
8. I put me first.
No doubt it is a bit difficult to leave when the fun seems to just have started, but I always like to leave on a high note. Sure there are the times when closing the party down is the highlight, but for the most part, my happiest nights are the ones when I put myself and my needs first. Feeling rested, energetic and happy the next day are my priorities. A big shift from what I used to value, but it is important for us all to honour what works best for each of us.