|Photo courtesy Technikil, licensed CC-BY-SA-NC|
Aside from the fact that I am an extreme introvert and the thought of meeting a yard full of strangers fills me with dread [interesting sidenote: according to Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, introverts are far more likely to blog about intimate details of their lives than extroverts. What a typical introvert I am - you can't get more intimate than blogging about your body!], I am also dreading the inevitable question of what to eat.
The last time I grazed at a party, I went over my calorie objective for the day even though I had a solid plan going in to the party - - my problem was that I lost count. A barbeque has lots of food consumed over a long afternoon/evening. The likelihood of me consuming too many calories is high. My ability to control what is served is nil. My ability to control what I eat will be compromised the later in the evening we go - surrounded by food and the smell of cooking food, especially where some of those foods are my trigger foods, I will find it increasingly difficult to say no to food as time goes on. I still have a lot of bad habits lurking in my memory, and it wouldn't take much to completely binge at a backyard barbeque - - all the traps are there.
My only chance not to go completely off the rails is to think about the calorie counts in certain typical barbeque foods, and to try and plan my attack well in advance.
Hamburger - one 4oz patty cooked on the grill (no bun) = around 180 calories, 0g carbs
Grilled hot dog (no bun) = 110 calories, 0g carbs
Grilled Schneiders sausage (no bun) = around 260 calories, 4g carbs
Broccoli salad (1 cup) = 125 calories, 0g carbs
Potato salad (1/2 cup) = 200 calories (ack!), 21g carbs
Pasta salad (1 cup) = 220 calories, 43g carbs
Chicken skewers (per skewer) = 100 calories, 0g carbs
Celery (10 x 4" strips) = 6 calories, 1g carbs
Sweet red pepper (3 rings) = 13 calories, 3g carbs
Cherry tomatoes (1 cup) = 66 calories, 6g carbs
Baby carrots (14) - 30 calories, 7g carbs
Nanaimo bars = 196 calories, 20g carbs
Strawberries (1 cup) = 49 calories, 12g carbs
Green grapes (20 grapes) = 52 calories, 14g carbs
Don't ask me why, but it is a Canadian barbeque tradition to have a tray of Nanaimo bars for dessert.
Looking at these numbers, I see that vegetables are essentially free, or very cheap. Fruit is pretty good, but it is easy to get carried away. Chicken is better than a hot dog is better than a hamburger is better than a sausage. Broccoli salad is good, and potato salad must be avoided at all costs. Because of the carbs, I can't have buns with anything. :-(
I am not on a diet, but am trying to make a lifestyle change. A normal lifestyle for me requires dinners out, parties with friends, and going out to restaurants. I just need to accept that I will have to make some of my choices on the fly, rather than having everything planned out in advance.
I confess that it is the lack of control that is causing me the stress. If the host had posted a menu of every food that was going to be served, I could have the luxury of thinking about the tradeoffs I need to make, and could plan accordingly. Unfortunately, because the host is a normal person (unlike yours truly, the obsessive), the whole thing will be a surprise.
But by thinking ahead, I can see roughly what I need to stay away from, and what I can fill my plate up with. Hopefully I can stay on track!