“A party without jollof is a meeting.” Nigerian parties are the best! We like to feed our guests until they can barely stand and then get them up and dancing. From a health point of view, it could be much worse, there tends to be ‘real food’ not just pastries and cakes and a good D.J. can provide hours of exercise.
For most people, the occasional party isn’t going to derail a healthy lifestyle. If you attend one party each month, I would suggest that you don’t need to change anything. If you attend two parties a month, I suggest that you consider the parties your treats and adopt a reasonable level of discipline the rest of the time.
If you party most weeks, you should adopt some of the tricks in this survival guide.
- Don’t fast in preparation. Yes, you will exceed your daily recommended calorie intake but starving yourself in preparation just teaches your body to create fat cells. Eat normally or slightly lighter than normal before the party.
- Drink plenty of water. Apart from the obvious benefits of drinking water, every drink of water replaces a potential source of calories. A small can of soft drink is about 150 calories, a glass of wine, 190 calories and a (Nigerian, strong, big) bottle of beer, 300-400 calories. Consider this against a recommended daily intake of 2000 for women and 2500 for men and you can see that a few drinks can crank up the calories.
- Cherry-pick your food. Just because it is there, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. If you love the variety of party food and want to get a taste of everything, then go small, a single spoon of each rice, one wrap of swallow, a small slice of moin-moin, a few party dodo. Don’t overwhelm the plate. Enjoy the meat dishes, party meat tends to be lean. I would go as far as to say that if meat is your pleasure, you are better off abandoning all else and eating only meat, the carbohydrates in the drinks will provide balance. Make sure that you only eat the foods you love. Do you really love chin-chin and puff-puff?
- Don’t gorge. Don’t even eat until you are full. It’s a Nigerian party, after a couple of hours of dancing, there will be a few ‘surprise’ items. Peppersoup, fried yam, akara. You know you’re going to have some, so leave space. Once again, cherry-pick and don’t eat until you are uncomfortable.
- Dance! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a good dancer or not, a few hours stepping from foot to foot is much better than sitting down watching the action.
It’s very likely that you will exceed your recommended daily intake at a party. To mitigate the effects, you should choose your foods, pace yourself and dance away some of the load.
Wetin you dey chop?
Major Abs’ takeaway:
This entire article is one big takeaway but here’s something to take to your next party:
Dance like nobody’s watching!
-Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh, 1987.