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One of the most difficult obstacles to achieving your health goals is when you’re invited over to a barbecue or celebratory meal. Whether it’s for a holiday or just an informal get-together, the food table can be a trap for even the most health-conscious person in the room. But with a little preplanning, you can follow these easy tips to navigate your way through the feast while keeping your body and health on track throughout the year.

Eat dinner before going to a party

The easiest way to avoid the food table at any party is to eat beforehand. Having a light, healthy meal before heading out means you’ll feel full and be less likely to overindulge.

Eat smart

Most food buffets will have some healthier food options. Instead of a handful of potato chips, choose cut-up vegetables dipped in hummus or salsa, fruit pieces, meatless sushi, or a handful of nuts.

Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast is the one meal where it’s usually easiest to find light and healthy options. Start the day right by making the most of the wholesome options provided. Or, when possible, step out and buy your own. Eating breakfast also helps to reduce your chance of overindulging later in the day.

Watch out for the snack attack

Don’t fall into the snacking trap of chips, chocolate, and candy. They’ll leave you feeling sluggish, and your hunger won’t be satisfied. Instead, bring something that you know you can enjoy without hurting your progress. Head to the local supermarket and stock up on nuts, oat-based muesli bars, or fruit and whole-grain crackers to keep you going when you get peckish. If you’re tempted to taste everything, take bite-sized portions to avoid overfilling your plate.

Carry water

Always have a bottle of water handy. It’s the healthiest thing you can drink and will also help to stop you from overindulging when you’re feeling hungry.

Make good dining-out decisions

The way food is cooked can have a significant impact on the number of calories it contains. When perusing a menu, choose grilled or baked items because those cooking methods result in less fat than fried or battered foods.

Healthy swaps

Choose dishes based on whole-grain foods, such as brown rice or whole-grain pasta with plenty of vegetables. Ask to swap fries for extra veggies or a salad. Also, choosing tomato- or veggie-based sauces over cream- or cheese-based ones is better for your waistline.

Article courtesy of Sanitarium Health Food Company. For more information and heart-healthy recipes, visit

Health Matters: How to Celebrate and Stay Healthy

by Sanitarium Health Food Company
From the May 2023 Signs