Even though I have always been the crazy girl at the party/bar/BBQ/gathering who brings her own food, I never knew that was something others didn’t even consider. I just assumed no one else did it because they didn’t want their own food.
In the past week with Labor Day weekend, kid’s birthday parties, and end of the summer BBQs, I have had 12 people ask me how they can keep themselves from eating all the crap available at these functions.
When I asked if they have ever brought their own food with them, something they love and that fills them up, every single person said “no”. When I asked why not, they each replied with their own version of “I hadn’t thought of that”.
So here’s your moment to think of it!!
Now if you love the food served at these events and they make you feel energetic and healthy and in-line with what you want as far as health, etc, then by all means, dig in!! I’m not one to take any pleasure away from you at all!! But that isn’t what I am hearing from people. I am hearing they are eating things they don’t want to eat because those are the only options. You always have options. And one of the easiest is to BYO.
Here are a few examples of when I brought my own food…
1. In my younger years, we went out a lot. My hubby was in a band and they played out at bars til the wee hours of the night. I don’t drink and and I don’t want to munch on greasy mostly animal product filled bar food when I got hungry/bored/tired. So I used to stop by the gas station or grocery story and pick up a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream…well Fro Yo (those were the days when low fat was “in”). Now I’m not saying a pint of B&J is any healthier or less calories than beer, French Fries, or Onion Rings, but it was what I CHOSE to eat instead of eating something I didn’t really want that ended up being unhealthy AND unfulfilling.
2. In the early marriage years when we were going out to eat with other couples and friends frequently, most people didn’t typically pick the restaurants I loved as their first choice (Thai and Indian are my faves), so instead of showing up and spending my hard earned money on a crappy salad and baked potato at the steakhouse (and then filling up on boring white rolls and butter because I wasn’t satiated), I would swing by my favorite take out restaurant and grab some Saag Paneer or Panang Curry to go. I spent my money on what I loved and walked out happy, instead of wanting to stop off after for a “treat” to make me feel better about the boring food I barely tolerated.
3. Family get-togethers are easy. They already know I’m bringing my own food so they don’t need to worry at all about making anything special for me. I typically stop by the local Whole Foods or other health food store and get some pre-made Kale Salad, Veg Sushi, or my fave Vegan Chicken Curry Salad. I also grab a couple Zevias so I’m not tempted to drink the sugary or artificial drinks they typically offer at parties.
4. BBQs are a challenge for most people because there will typically be food you like, but you don’t want to eat because it’s unhealthy/processed/GMO-y/or just too calorie rich for your goals. This is where you really need to bring something you love…a treat!! I recommend eating a healthy meal before you go like a giant Kale Salad full of fruits and nuts that will keep you full for a long time. Then bring with you a super treat that you keep on hand for when you know you will need it. At the last BBQ, I ate a yummy vegan burrito on the way and brought a bag of Newman Os with me. Again, I’m not saying the Newman Os are any healthier than the Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies that were beckoning me the moment I walked in, but my goal right now is to not eat any animal products at all. Pumpkin cookies had them, Newman Os did not. Mission accomplished.
5. And finally there’s the movie theater! Yikes! I hope I don’t get arrested as I know it’s illegal, but I LOVE snacks during my movie and currently there are not a lot of vegan options. Plus the smell of popcorn when I walk in FORCES me to buy some…unless I have a yummier option tucked away waiting for the safety of the dark theater to unwrap.
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. I was at a Labor Day get-together this past weekend and ate my weight in PB&J thinking I was so smart for bringing my own food that covered lunch AND dinner. At the last movie I was at, I ate a big meal beforehand so I thought I wouldn’t need a snack and showed up unprepared. Ended up with a diet soda (chemical shit storm) crazy mix from those new machines where you can add any flavor to any base and a massive soft pretzel AND some bites of a neighbor’s popcorn…not sure if they were part of our crew or not??
When this happens (and it will) take a few minutes to evaluate WHAT happened, WHY it happened, and what you can do NEXT time to make it less detrimental to your overall health and well-being.
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