How to Eat Like a Skinny Socialite at Events…

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In a busy city like Toronto, there are always numerous social events going on. I always find that at such events, the catering is quite calorie-laden (i.e. high-fat and/or high-sugar) for the most part with few to no light options. ‎Last Thursday, Raj and I were invited to a grand opening event and the catering at this event was no exception. There was a cornucopia of indulgent foods and drinks that was served buffet-style. I know some people who would starve themselves the whole day before such events and then overindulge at the event. That is a very unhealthy and ineffective way to enjoy social events without packing on the pounds. So how do skinny socialites do it? If they do it healthily, this is how they do it…

#11. Eat a small meal before you go. Don’t go hungry! There is nothing worse than arriving at an event hungry and wanting to devour everything in sight, especially when most of the food is unhealthy. Going to an event when you are somewhere in between hungry and full helps you determine what foods and/or drinks you truly want to have. For instance, at the event last Thursday, we were greeted at the guestlist check-in with freshly popped popcorn. If I arrived hungry, I would have eaten all the popcorn in that bag without even having checked out how extensive the catering menu would be. On the other hand, since I did not arrive hungry, I did not find the popcorn appealing and I passed on it.

 

 

#2

2. Check out all the menu items first. Then, pick out a few items that you want to try the most and try a bit of each. The dessert buffet table at the event last Thursday was HUGE! There were cannoli, a variety of mini dessert tarts, cupcakes, macaroons, brownies, a white chocolate and caramel fountain with fresh fruit, mini cupcakes, freshly baked cookies (chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and white chocolate macadamia), chocolate bars, a make-your-own-hot-chocolate station with marshmallows, a variety of macarons, and much more! With my sweet tooth, I had to narrow all that down to just a few items that I wanted to try the most. It was not too hard in this case, because macarons are my favourite dessert! There were four flavours (chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, and passion fruit). I took one of each, ate half of each, and took home the rest in a popcorn bag from the guestlist check-in. The leftover halves were just as delicious the next day! My favourite flavour was definitely the vanilla.

#3

3. Engage in other festivities, socialize, and/or network. Do not make the event just about the food. Even though I am a huge foodie, I do not make social events revolve around the food. I make sure to engage in all the other festivities going on and converse with great company. At this most recent event, Raj and I had a lot of silly fun in the photo booth, enjoyed all the live performances, and took time to take in all the beautiful decor. The food was only one of several highlights that night.

 

 

#44. Limit yourself to a maximum of two drinks. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, sugary drinks are simply empty calories. The calories that they contain provide minimal to no hydration, vitamins, or minerals. However, if you enjoy drinking at events, feel free to indulge as long as you can keep it at two drinks per day maximum. Also, size DOES matter! For instance, although there was an open bar at the event for white wine, red wine, and Cosmopolitan cocktails, there was more than eight ounces of wine in each wine glass! That is a lot of wine for one serving! A glass of wine should only be around five ounces. I love white wine, but if I had drank that entire glass, I would have reached my daily drink limit with that one glass. Instead, I drank half that glass of white wine and enjoyed a Cosmopolitan after.

#5

5. Practice mindful eating like the Buddhists do amid all the commotion. At social events, I always see people eating while standing up and while talking and/or listening to multiple people. I, on the other hand, take a timeout from all the mixing and mingling to eat mindfully and to savour every bite. Mindful eating helps you feel satiated with smaller portions and helps prevent bingeing and overeating. For instance, at the oyster bar at the event, I zoned out all the commotion to garnish my oyster and mindfully eat it. As a result, I was satisfied and happy with just two oysters. Mindful eating should definitely be practiced at every meal.

 

I really hope you all found these tips helpful. Although I do not personally know any real skinny socialites like Paris Hilton, I do know that following these tips would definitely be the healthy way to maintain a title like that! Who says you can’t have your cake (or macaron, in my case) and eat it too?

XOXO,

Addy

 

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Quick Tip Thursday #2: Smuggling Salad Toppers into Restaurants!

I smuggled some non-GMO tempeh and hemp hearts into a restaurant to add to their boring garden salad! Shhh...

I smuggled some non-GMO tempeh and hemp hearts into a restaurant to add to their boring garden salad! Shhh…

In the last several years, it seems that more and more restaurants have been expanding their salad options, offering more variety and selection. However, salads are not always the healthiest choice at restaurants, depending on what gets added to your lettuce base. Firstly, skip the iceberg lettuce and opt for more nutrient-dense, dark, leafy greens instead. Then, steer clear of unhealthy lettuce toppings such as high-sodium and high-fat dressings, processed cheeses, bacon bits, croutons, etc.

Sometimes though, restaurants offer so few healthy salad options that if you want a lean salad, you must resort to a plain and boring one, which typically consists of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, and light oil. The key to delicious and sustainable healthy eating is PLANNING. When I dine out, I usually know ahead of time which restaurant and what I will be ordering. If I see nothing healthy on the menu that excites me, I plan out how to alter the menu to suit my health needs and taste buds.

When I am dining at a restaurant with little to no healthy options for their entrée salads except for the boring garden salad, I order the boring garden salad with a light dressing on the side and I bring my own salad toppers! For instance, in the picture above, I was at a restaurant whose salad entrée menu only offered a garden salad, a Greek salad with feta cheese (I am lactose intolerant), a typical high-in-bad-fats Caesar salad, and a chicken salad with processed and rubbery chicken meat. So I planned ahead and I brought my own tempeh (which was non-GMO, by the way) and hemp hearts to add to their otherwise boring garden salad. I also asked for their light Italian dressing and hot sauce on the side, both of which I added to the salad in small amounts. (Don’t forget to ask for your dressing on the side, so that you can control the amount!) It was easy turning their plain garden salad into a delicious, high-protein, high-fibre, and omega-3-rich one! Hope you all get to check out this health tip!

XOXO,

Addy

Healthy Dining at Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

Cluny Bar

While we were waiting to be seated, we each enjoyed a glass of NV Champagne Piper Hiedsieck Brut in the bar area near the entrance.

When people think of French food, many think of fattening foods such as baguettes, croissants, cheese, butter, foie gras, French pastries, etc. So when my friends and I were invited to the soft grand opening of Cluny Bistro and Boulangerie, I was expecting mostly rich and indulgent menu items. I was pleasantly surprised to see a variety of light and healthy dishes (besides salads) on their menu. Here is a recap and review of the lighter and healthier menu items we tried…

Cluny Interior

The interior decor and ambiance are gorgeous. Cluny even has a raw bar and seafood counter off to the side of the dining area (bottom right picture).

Our Server (Penny) & Gazpacho

LEFT: Our awesome server, Penny! RIGHT: Spicy Chilled Watermelon and Tomato Soup with Firm Tofu, Basil, and Oven-Dried Tomato ($9).

The first dish was the Spicy Chilled Watermelon and Tomato Soup (with firm tofu, basil, and oven-dried tomato), which ended up being my second favourite dish of the night. I loved the flavour balance between the sweetness from the watermelon and the tang from the tomato. Although this vegan dish is technically not a gazpacho since it is made with oven-dried tomato and not raw tomato, it was just as refreshing! This chilled appetizer would be even better during the summer. However, as a big fan of spicy foods, I do wish this dish was spicier. Next time, I will ask them to add extra chilies or chili sauce in mine.

Scallop Ceviche with Watermelon

Qualicom Bay Scallop Crudo with Watermelon, Chili, Peanuts, and Cilantro ($14).

My hands-down favourite dish of the night was the Qualicom Bay Scallop Crudo (with watermelon, chili, peanuts, and cilantro). It was also my favourite dish presentation. The colours of this dish were so vibrant and the flavours complemented each other so well. Like in the soup, the level of spiciness from the chili was very mild, but I enjoyed it in this dish, because the flavour of the raw scallops was so delicate. Also, the textures of this dish were so enjoyable on the palate. The texture of the raw scallops balanced well with the slight bite from the watermelon and the crunch from peanuts. This dish was perfection! I highly recommend it.

Tuna Tartar

Tuna Tartare “Niçoise” with Egg, French Beans, White Anchovy, and Niçoise Olives ($17).

The next dish was the Tuna Tartare “Niçoise” (with egg, French beans, white anchovy, and Nicoise olives). With the anchovy and olives, I was worried that this dish may be too salty for my taste buds, but it wasn’t! This was a delicious French twist on the classic tuna tartare. The tartare itself was creamy enough that I didn’t need the white cream sauce that was provided on the side.

Moroccan Stew with Couscous

Moroccan Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew with Couscous, Harissa, Almond, and Apricot ($18).

If you are vegan, you will enjoy their only vegan main course, which is the Moroccan Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew (with couscous, harissa, almond, and apricot). This was such a hearty and comforting dish that I didn’t miss meat at all. Before digging into this dish, I recommend mixing the couscous with the stew and letting the couscous absorb some of that delicious stew sauce. It was so yummy!

Housemade Bread

There is a bread bar in the middle of the restaurant and it is fully stocked with a variety of breads that are baked daily on site!

Also, there is a bread bar in the middle of the dining area. It is fully stocked with a variety of their breads, which are baked fresh daily on site by Head Chef Paul Benallick. Unfortunately, there are no gluten-free options yet for those sensitive or allergic to gluten. My favourite bread was this one containing small chunks of apple in it. I really enjoyed that small touch of sweetness in the bread.

Me & G Post-Dinner

When the food is so delicious (and light) that you just want to jump up with delight post-meal!

All in all, it was a very enjoyable night filled with great friends, great conversations, and of course, great food! Our server, Penny, was very knowledgeable about the menu and very welcoming. I highly recommend this restaurant for romantic date nights, especially since it is located in the heart of the Distillery District. If you are looking for great modern French cuisine in a beautiful French-inspired setting, then you must check out Cluny Bistro and Boulangerie!

XOXO,

Addy