Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer Weekends: Don't Let Apps Make You Fat

Dark photo but had to include Rosa Mexicana guac for an army from Taste of Upper West Side
Nothing says “hello summer” like a golf umbrella (or in my case yesterday a broken umbrella mid-typhoon) but weather aside Memorial Day weekend, for many, is the unofficial start to summer. Nutritionally each season has its liabilities. Summertime means cocktail calories and barbeques possibly mitigated by the presence fantastic produce and outside time.  This week, I’ve been prepping clients for summer snags. In a session earlier in the week a client said “I’m pretty good with my meals it’s just the appetizers and pre-dinner munching that trips me up.” She’s not alone; a cheese plate has derailed many healthy weekends.  Here are my tips for managing an app-attack.

Be mono-appous- despite what you’ve heard happy hour is not the time to play the field at least when calories are at stake. Is it going to be shrimp cocktail, crudité or cheese? Whenever possible, commit to one item and be faithful. This is similar to the presnacktual agreement I mentioned before. The more items you taste the more total food you’ll consume.

If food-loyalty is a virtue you’re still working on, I’ve got you covered. For pupu platter eaters sticking to one food takes work and can initially feel like dietary Alcatraz. In that case, just plate it. Take a bread and butter plate or if plateless a cocktail napkin will suffice and serve yourself a few items. The nice thing about plating is that you see what you’re consuming. This comes in handy if you’re keeping a food journal or just when donning a swimsuit for the first time in months. And it's just one plate, no refills.

It’s easy to overdo it on hors d’oeuvres (a word I can never spell correctly), especially after a glass of wine. When you’re tempted to blow it…wait, wait, compensate. If you polished off the better part of a basket of chips- skip carbs at dinner. If you couldn’t resist mini meatballs or sliders, veg it up during mealtime.  Apps add up and the truth is if you went to town (it has happened to the best of us) you technically don’t need much after that. If that sounds a little Where the Wild Things Are I’m sorry but we’re all a lot older than Max and dinner skipping (after basically having dinner) isn’t the end of the world.

If you’re hosting, some favorite app ideas are
  • Olives- in NYC Citarella and Fresh Direct sell gigantic Cerignola olives that I adore.
  • Veggies and Interesting Dip- try Sweet Potato Hummus or a knock off on Canyon Ranches Peanut Butter Delight (1/4 cup any nut butter,  1 cup Greek Yogurt spice it up with cayenne or keep it sweet with cinnamon/vanilla or maple).
  • Nothing is better than guacamole but I serve it with shrimp instead of chips.
  • If you’re a regular reader you know my fondness for freshly popped popcorn and truffle salt (preferably together).
  • And if you’re feeling “cheesy” pair cubes of cheese with organic Hellfire Pepper Jelly- it’s spicy enough that it really satisfies you and spice helps with your metabolism.
What’s your appetizer strategy? Any of these tips sound worth trying? What are your favorite appetizers to eat or make?
Have a great weekend.



20 comments:

  1. Gina (Candid RD)May 25, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Great tips, Lauren!  I agree especially that it's important to skip the carbs if you already ate a bunch pre-meal.  Also, it's important for people to note how their self-control sort of falls to the wayside after a couple drinks (at least I know that's what happens to me!).

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  2. Gina, I think post-drinking eating is so individual some clients aren't swayed as much. I'm with you though very easy to concoct a new (less healthy) plan with a glass of wine in my hand.

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  3. This is so important. My family tends to make 6 foot long tables filled with different antipasti, so it's hard to get away with tasting just one thing (Food pushers as you call them). So I usually take a teensy bit of everything. It's also important to eat really slowly or before I know it, someone will have refilled my plate for me. 

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  4. Love your shrimp with guac idea!  Never would have thought of that one!

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  5. sort of like ceviche- I have a good recipe for that too from Jenna of Rosaberry.

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  6. Good reminder "tortoise" eating. 6 foot table of antipasti, may have a bad dream about clients at that table.

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  7. I'm not big on appetizers...I like to go straight to the main event since I get full really quickly.

    "Presnacktual agreement." Too funny. I love it.

    Have the most fantastic long weekend Lauren! I tried to make it to NYC this weekend but work got in the way. :(

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  8. And see Ameena I love appetizers but I hate the idea of an entree afterward. As you know we don't care if words are "real" here. Boo about work, will I see you this summer in NYC?

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  9. I have to make an "appetizer contract" with myself before going to a party, especially if there is good cheese... I also very much like your strategies of compensating and to plate the food! It's just too easy to keep on eating when you just grab things right off the table...

    When we have guests over, I try to have veggie-heavy appetizers. I usually have a fun dip with veggies for dipping, caprese salad (let the cheese begin...), olives, and good cheese (yup, more cheese...). I often allow myself more of the appetizers but then only have salad (with some protein) for dinner since that's usually what I enjoy most.

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  10. Great tips, Lauren...after a second drink it goes out the window for me :) Have a great weekend !

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  11. Such a simple idea, but I love the one plate (or cocktail napkin) rule. One tip that can help-raw veggies are at most parties, so try and fill up on those first, then take your (1) plate of your favorite other apps. One advantage for me, of eating gluten-free, is that I can't eat a lot of apps at parties, so I'm bound to eat a lot of raw veggies :-). But, yes, then there are the cocktails, and I'm definitely one of those who might eat a little more than usual after a couple of drinks....Happy Memorial weekend!

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  12. Oh, olives.  I could dive into a pool of olives.  Except that would be weird and creepy.  Apps are definitely an issue during holiday parties.  I can eat my weight in baguettes and brie if I'm not careful.

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  13. I fill up quickly and appetizers are difficult for me. I love them, but don't want them before a meal. 

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  14. I hear you Caron, I really think it's fill up on apps or wait for meal, both is too much. 

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  15. I like the one plate idea also (esp if it's a really small plate, as a bread plate usually is).  And after that, I try to keep my hands busy with a drink - white wine, or after I'm done drinking for the evening, just water or club soda.  If my hands are full then it's too difficult to fill up another plate with food!

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  16. Bread plates work well. I like the glass trick too, though I went to a party and they had wine glass necklaces (hands free) to avoid this. 

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  17. nice that I am in my element with fellow olive and cheese lovers here. "Appetizer contract" so up my alley.

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  18. You're not alone ayala, hope your weekend was nice.

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  19. I completely agree about veggies and gluten. This weekend, often my plate was more simply by virtue of being gluten free though I was "glutened" by guac with "wheat in it" so weird. 

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  20. creepy to who? Love brie.

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