Weddings Whoas

by Sarah

Weddings! Most of us enjoy going to weddings and supporting family and friends during a joyous time in their lives. As I was counting the number of weddings that my husband and I have attended over the last 5 years, it has totaled a whopping 35+ weddings! Between family members and friends, this is a lot of celebrating which includes not only dancing but also many evenings when food, beverages, and desserts are easily accessible.

My husband and I are in the midst of another busy wedding season which led me to think of all the various times that food and beverages are available throughout a wedding celebration. I began to compile a list of different times during the day when I have had the option to gorge myself during a wedding.

Let’s start with hors d'oeuvres: cheese, crackers, sausage, potato chips, pretzels, the occasional veggie or fruit tray. Depending on what options the couple has chosen, we may be off to a rough nutritional start before dinner is even served.

What about cocktail hour? Don’t get me wrong cocktail hour can be fun, but the extra calories from liquor, beer, wine, or soda can tally up fast if we aren’t mindful of our choices. The average calorie count in one light beer or one glass of wine is 100-150 calories so be aware of your consumption not only during cocktail hour but throughout the celebration. 

Moving on to dinner time! Over the course of the years, I have seen wedding dinners consist of everything from fried chicken and all the fixings, to a build-your-own pasta bar, to a breakfast for dinner option (interesting I know). Also, dinners are usually presented in 1 of 3 ways: plated, buffet style, or family style. When the dinner is pre-plated it is easier to keep portions in check and not overindulge. Most of the time if there will be a plated meal, the guest is able to choose the dinner they would like on the RSVP. This is a great way to plan ahead for a nutritional, modest sized dinner. The only downside: only about 15% of the weddings that I have attended offer this option so when you have the chance, take advantage of it! Some dinner presentations are done in a buffet style where the guests walk up to get their own food. Like any other buffet, guests will be tempted to fill a heaping plate of food and overeat. One way to avoid this is to start small; use a salad or smaller plate if the option is available to you. Last but not least (and in my opinion the most dangerous dinner presentation) is the family style dinner presentation. This is when the food is served in dishes that are brought to each table and passed around by the guests at the table. With this presentation, portions are unlimited and guests don’t even have to leave the table to get their food! Oh, and that serving platter of fried chicken is empty? The waiter or waitress will typically refill them, in turn leaving more food at the table tempting us to have a second helping. No matter what the presentation, it’s important to be especially mindful during dinner.

Are you full yet? Well I hope you saved room for desert! Wedding cake, cupcakes, pies, cookies, and the popular help-yourself candy bar are the usual after dinner treats offered at weddings. If dessert is your go-to, by no means deprive yourself. Split a piece of cake with someone you know or don’t eat a full piece. And if you’ve been mindful up to this point, you may not need to worry too much about the dessert calories.

Now that we’ve let our tummies settle from dinner and dessert, next comes late night snacks. I’m sure you have also seen many late night wedding “spreads” which could include items like cheese, crackers, sausage, sloppy joes, potato chips, pretzels, cookies, and just in case you were still hungry – pizza! It’s as if the kitchen never closes!

So with food and beverages all around us, how do we keep ourselves in check but still enjoy the wedding? Here are a few tricks that I keep up my sleeve:

  • Use salad plates or smaller plates, bowls, and cups if available.
  • Drink water! Water can help curb your appetite, prevent overeating, and keep you hydrated especially on those hot summer days.
  • Snack on something before attending to avoid making poor nutritional choices. Also, if dinner will be a plated meal help yourself by making a smart choice on the RSVP.
  • Portions!!! Keep these in mind and make mental notes of what you have had throughout the day. Little choices like having a drink or dessert, or hors d'oeuvres or late night snacks could help you stay on track.
  • Don’t sit all day. Walk around the venue, check out the scenery and décor, stand up at the back of the room during those long speeches, and don’t forget to DANCE! You could burn off 250-400 calories per hour while you get your groove on.

Like I said before, weddings are a joyous time and a fun experience for all. Don’t let a day of indulgence make you stray away from your health and wellness goals!


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