|Photo by Maggie Q. Magniloquent, some rights reserved|
The only problem with grazing, I think you'll agree, is that one never stops eating. It is far too easy to load up a plate with food ... and then another ... and then another ... for the entire evening.
I tried to be pragmatic about it and plan ahead for my meal, so that I would know in advance what I could have. For example, I planned on half a serving of Tostitos scoops to go with a set amount of guacamole, many chopped vegetables (celery and red pepper), 4 swedish meatballs, and 4 chicken fingers.
I was able to stick to the 4 meatballs and 4 chicken fingers - - with difficulty - - but then lost count of the tortilla chips and guac. I am certain that I went over on that count. And I completely forgot to check the fresh fruit (strawberries and grapes) until halfway through the evening.
And I have to say, other than the problems I have in counting (also demonstrated whenever I try and calculate a tip in a restaurant, which is why I am constantly overtipping), it's very difficult to stop eating when everyone around you is eating all evening. In addition to that, many of our guests brought desserts, and we had an entire world map made out of cookies (see photo, above). None of which I could eat (and stay anywhere near my calorie goals for the day, that is).
As it was, I went over on my calorie goals for the day, but only slightly. But it took an iron will and as much discipline as I had in my body to eat what I did, and not to gorge like I wanted to.
These kind of unstructured meal times are the most challenging for me, because there is no "recipe" for the meal, as such. I much prefer being able to eat a specific dish or course of a meal eaten in a specific time range, rather than a buffet of food over the span of an evening.
My next challenge will be an upcoming family meal out at North 44, a fancy restaurant operated by Mark McEwan (of Bymark, One, Fabrica, McEwan's Fine Foods and Top Chef Canada fame). It's my mom's favourite restaurant, and we're going there for her birthday. I am really nervous about what I will choose, because the food is so rich that it will be difficult to stay anywhere close to my diet if I clean my plate. We'll see what happens.