Party season is now in full swing and if there’s a battle that most of us end up losing to, it’s the challenge presented by a buffet table. Really, how can you resist when that lechon seems to be daring you to go get some more, right?
But you have to remember: No dish or food has power over you. You have full control of what you'll put on your plate. Armed with the right game plan, you can head to any party and have your fill without overdoing it. These six strategies will help you enjoy this season without adding inches to your gut.
Do Your Recon
Before grabbing your plate, scan the food spread first. Check the dishes, how they’re cooked, and then choose wisely, advises Dave Clark Sison, M.Sc., R.N.D., assistant professor and nutrition clinic director at the Philippine Women’s University School of Nutrition. Simple substitutions you can do include picking grilled meats over fried ones, choosing vegetable or oil-based sauces over creamy ones, and picking fruits over more indulgent desserts.
Have a glass or two of water prior to getting food. “In terms of satiety, makakatulong siya kasi you’ll feel fuller faster,” says Sison. Water has zero calories, so you’re actually creating a bit of deficit for yourself, too.
Know Thy Order
In a buffet set up, it’s best you don’t go for what you want right away. “You can start with a plate of fruits first to help you eat less of the sinful foods available,” says Alex Callanta, P.N., fitness trainer and Precise Nutrition Coach at 360 Fitness Club in Pasig City. Aside from fiber, you’re also taking in vitamins and minerals, too. A plate of salad greens minus the dressing also does the trick.
Size Down Your Plate
Much like a Jedi mind trick, using a smaller plate will help you eat less. “Because the plate is smaller, you’ll easily fill it up, [and your mind] will [think] you’re eating a lot already,” says Callanta. While you’re at it, try to fill at least half of your plate with vegetables, then a fourth each of protein and carbs to balance things out.
Dodge Liquid Calories
“The largest source of extra calories are soups and drinks,” warns Sison. Skip the soda, iced tea, and juices as most of them are full of sugar. Opt for water instead. When it comes to alcohol, try to go for hard drinks minus the mixer over beer. “You’ll tend to consume less of the hard drinks because it’s concentrated and it’s not as easier to tolerate compared to beer,” advises Callanta.
Try Another Day
Despite all your efforts, you succumbed to the call of lechon, kare-kare, and caldereta. But don’t be down that you’ll gain weight and be fat the next day. “You don’t become overweight overnight,” says Sison. Your best strategy, if you indulged today is to sweat it off via a workout tomorrow and eat lesser portions. Create a calorie deficit so that you’ll balance things out.
This story originally appeared on Menshealth.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.