Summer is here and we are more social this time of year than at any other time. There are lots of catch ups with friends and family, and celebrations are many! A big part of our social get-togethers revolves around food. Often, we eat mindlessly, chatting while we eat, or hanging out near the food and all of a sudden feel really full! This can lead to a few extra unwanted kilos coming on, and they can be hard to shift again, especially if we are going from one function to the next!
We tend to socialise much more these days than previous generations did. We are also much more sedentary than our ancestors. The type of food we tend to eat these days is less nutrient-dense than what our grandparents and their parents ate. When we go to a restaurant, we tend to splurge with our food; when we have people over to our homes, we offer nibbles before a meal, as well as desserts afterwards.
So, how can we be social without food? Here are some tips…
- Ask friends to get together for a walk instead of a coffee. A lot of topics can be covered while walking in nature. Change venues and routes regularly to keep it interesting.
- Start some art lessons – sign up for a pottery class or drawing class with a friend. Catch up with them while you’re being artistic. At the end of the class, you’ll have something creative to take home.
- Have a spa day. Manicures & Pedicures are a lot of fun with good company. Ask a friend to join you at your favourite salon for some pampering. If that’s out of your budget, invite a few friends over for manicures, pedicures and skin treatments at home.
- Go dancing! Whether you’re dressing up and donning your dancing shoes, or dressing in your best jeans for some boot-scooting, hitting the dance floor is a great way to get out and be with friends. Go to a club, join a dance class, or do an aerobics class at your local gym. Salsa, Zumba, line dancing – the options are endless! If you’re a little shy, try disco in the dark events run by groups such as “No Lights No Lycra”.
- Go to a movie. Some may say that you can’t go to the movies without popcorn and a choc-top, but next time you go, take notice of how many people DON’T buy food.
- Volunteer! Socialising doesn’t have to be self-fulfilling. Join a local group to help clean up the neighbourhood, or volunteer to hand out water for a running event. While you’re helping others, you’ll be helping yourself by meeting new people and forming new friendships. Keep in mind that if you are volunteering, you should be dedicated to the cause, otherwise you may lose interest.
But what happens if you just can’t get away from socialising with food? Here are a few tips on what to do when you are eating out:
- If you are going to a restaurant or café, look at the menu online before you go, and decide on what you will order. Try to order reasonably quickly once you arrive so there is less temptation to change your mind.
- If you are going to a function where it’s not a sit-down meal, eat before you go. If you’re not hungry, or have already eaten, you are less likely to over-indulge.
- If you are going to a friends house, offer to contribute to the meal. Bing a healthy salad, or a fruit platter for dessert.
- Better still, offer to have the get-together at your home. Provide healthy options for your guests and have activities ready to go – host a retro night of board games, or more active outdoor games such as boules, finska, croquet, or quoits. If you’re feeling more active, try a game of soccer or cricket!
We are much more food-focused than our ancestors were when it comes to socialising. This needn’t be the case. Try some of the suggestions above when you are planning your next get-together. You’ll be surprised at how grateful others are for an alternative!