If you're like millions of other party-minded Americans, you'll be hitting a number of cookouts this summer.
And, as you probably know, backyard barbecues and other food-themed gatherings pose special obstacles to you, the health-minded dieter.
So, other than staying home and eating alone with your delicious Diet-to-Go meals, how do you escape dietary damage at a summer party?
1. Arrive late, leave early
The more time you spend around food -- from Uncle Joe's special cheese-stuffed burgers to Aunt Millie's decadent 7-layer chocolate cake -- the more food you're gonna eat. It's simple human nature.
Add alcohol to the mix and say goodbye to your diet resolve.
So unless you must stay put from start to finish, shoot for a two-hour window smack in the middle of the festivities. And do yourself a favor, by eating healthy before you head out to the party.
What happens if it's a well-organized sit-down dinners? Try portion control and fill half your plate with steamed, grilled or broiled veggies.
2. Grab a drink with your dominant hand... and keep it there
It sounds odd but you'll actually eat less if you have to fumble for food with your off hand. So righties, stay tighty with your grasp and lefties, don't be loosy with yours!
The truth is you don't need a drink in your dominant hand. But you would look a little foolish carting a baseball around the back yard!
3. Nut up if veggies aren't available for noshing
While most parties feature raw veggies and dips, you can't be sure you'll find them at a soiree thrown by Animal House-mimicking frat boys. You can either bring a veggie plate with enough to share or you can bring a gift they'll be sure to go nuts over -- a large can of lightly salted or no-salt nuts!
Better yet... bring both! Then after you fill up on raw veggies, toss back a handful of nuts. Wait at least 20 minutes before you eat anything else.
The waiting may be the hardest part BUT after 20 minutes your stomach and bring are back in sync and you'll should feel satisfied from all that roughage.
4. Socialize first, feast second
Remember, you were invited to the party because people like you and ant to catch up on things. You weren't invited to wolf down six burgers and a rack of ribs (unless of course you are taking part in an eating contest).
Yes, eating has become an accepted way of socializing and most social events feature food... yummy, high-fat, high-calorie food.
But it turns out we tend to interact more with others when we're not eating!
Think about it: It's tough to shoot the breeze with a buddy when your mouth is full of food.
So when you're at a summer party get your pleasure from chatting with friends rather than chewing on goodies.
Author: John McGran