1) Check out the menu online before going out. Look for words like broiled, grilled, roasted, and steamed. Avoid words like fried, sautéed, breaded, and drenched.
2) Get a salad first and use a little bit of olive oil with balsamic vinegar for a dressing. Ask for dressing on side.
3) If they serve large portions, ask for a box when you order food so you can put half of it away to take home. This way you aren't picking at it during conversation.
4) Ask for steamed veggies if you don't want salad.
5) Instead of fries order a baked potato (or sweet potato) without the butter on top. Ask for the topping on the side so you can control how much goes on. I've been known to drizzle a little olive oil or use guacamole on them instead. I've also used salsa, which is yummy and super healthy!
6) ROLLS!! I suggest putting them on the other side of the table. You might want to avoid having them brought to the table at all, but with other people that may be difficult. Perhaps poll the group to see if they want to avoid them as well.
7) Share dessert with multiple people if you have to have some. Or see if they can give you a fruit cup instead.
8) Don't allow anyone to order for you or the table. Be firm in making your preferences known. It's also ok to ask the waiter to modify things for you. You are worth it and it's your pocketbook.
AT A BBQ:
9) bring something to the party that is healthy and you can share with others. This can also be your fall-back dish incase there isn't anything there.
10) At any party, choose the smallest plate to eat from if you are comfortable doing so. I often use kids plates. This allows you to go back for seconds without feeling guilty.
11) Start with the veggies. Fill up on veggies and fruit and regular salad. Then have a small piece of protein (palm sized). Then add the starchy foods like corn, potatoes, etc. Limit those to a 1/4 cup each.
12) Avoid mayo-based foods if possible, or limit them. If you like these, make your own at home with light mayo, or mayo and mustard, and bring them.
13) If you are hosting...use RED plates. This encourages people to eat less. YELLOW encourages you to slow down while eating.
14) If you are hosting, send leftover "trigger foods" home. Or don't offer them in the first place. You can offer lots of wonderful healthy and fun dishes that everyone will enjoy. There is no BBQ requirement that sweets are a must.
15) Limit dessert to one. Before starting at one end of the dessert buffet, step back, look at your options, and decide which option will best satisfy you. Don't avoid dessert unless you could care less about it, because you'll be more likely to binge on the leftovers if you deny yourself.
16) GO SWIMMING!! Or go for a walk around the neighborhood with a group after eating. Get activity that day and enjoy being outside.
17) Play with the kids. This will distract you from food.
18) TAKE IT ALL IN!!!! Sit outside, take in the fresh air. Listen to the sounds of people talking and playing. Be thankful for the moment. Love yourself in the moment!
FOR BOTH SITUATIONS:
19) Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks. Drink water in between.
20) MOST IMPORTANT: Focus on conversation and remembrance instead of food. This weekend may be about socializing, a three-day weekend and food, but it's really about remembering the fallen soldiers. So take time for remembrance and being thankful for all that they have done. This sometimes creates a reality check and we find ourselves not wanting to over indulge.