We had two nieces of my wife visiting for the weekend. It's a common habit to change eating and exercise patterns when friends come over, and mostly, in a non-healthy way. To make guests feel better, many of my friends bake fat and sugar full cookies, prepare some grandma-favourite full of fat recipe, and skip all the exercise in favour of watching TV together. And beside getting a lot of energy from visiting my friends and family, often I spend the same amount of energy for saying no.
I decided to give it a go, and just do all things - meals, exercise, sleep -, as we would usually do. The healthy way, that I developed during the past years on this healthy lifestyle journey.
I asked my guests about "the menu" on offer, and they were interested to try out.
Some items form our meals:
* Light mozzarella cheese with tomatoes - dinner, starter
* Green leaf salad (see my spark recipes) - dinner, and pre-packed for picknick lunch both days
* Light crock monsieur - breakfast (lean ham, Ementaler cheese, whole-bread)
* Fresh-fruit basket - dinner, starter
* Steamed carrots, wholewheat couscous, low-fat Frankfurter - dinner
* Light yogurt with honey and oatmeal - breakfast
* Warm and Spicy Banana Waffles, served with banana, strawberries - dinner (see Sparkpeople cookbook, with oats, and whole-grain flour)
Other items new to our guests (but regular for me):
* Finn crisps, and puffed rice (instead of braed)
* Smoked salmon and trout (both in Hungary and Austria, fish eating habits are totally low)
* Hummus (rare in Hungary)
* Strawberry-quark mix (for dessert, light, yumm!!!)
* Granola and fruit bars instead of cookies and cake (all high quality and tasty)
Some items from our exercise plan:
Swimming in the local swimming pool (every evening)
Biking to a nearby river (Saturday)
Hiking in the nearby mountains (Saturday)
Big walk, and biking in Graz (Sunday)
Another thing I paid attention to:
Our guests had the right to stop eating whenever they felt they are good. I didn't offer food again, and for sure, I didn't play "you eat my food, if you love me", and especially not the advanced version "you eat a LOT OF MY FOOD, if you really love me".
I also asked them if it is OK if we get up in a way that I can sleep 8h each night, which was OK for them.
River Raba from our trip on Saturday:
The overall feedback was positive. It looked like all food was new to them (they eat very "traditionally" at home), and they liked to discover the new tastes. The exercise part just felt natural, not really as exercise, but "tourist activity".
In fact, this was one of my healthiest weekends in the past months:
- totally healthy food choices, all time within my calorie budget,
- all my exercise needs were fulfilled, burned 2750 kcal during the three days,
- slept each night 8h, I am rested and happy for the start of the week.
How did it all feel?
In fact, just going by "usual things", we provided enough excitement to our guests, so it felt easy, and authentic. We just did what we usually do.
And it turned out, they were in fact happy for the healthy food, the controlled portions, and all the exercise we did.
And we had totally fun.
View from Graz (notice the roofs: traditional houses in the center, "big houses" in the suburbs):
How was it when you last time welcomed friends or family?
How did you organize the meals, and the program?
If you have some good tips, let me know!
* On Friday, when they arrived, we made a short tour in the local supermarkets, and offered them to buy things they need for the weekend, and we usually don't eat (white bread, biscuits, etc.). It turned out, the only thing missing was instant-coffee.
* Great tip to offer my guests to bring their choices they need and we don't have!