Last week I started telling you about the birthday party I threw for my darling 1 year old daughter and gave you three, quick tips on how to attend a function without panic. Just in case you missed it with a hint of my humor, check it out here. At the end I promised you this week we’d talk about what to actually eat, what to run from and how to figure out what a portion size is without carrying around measuring cups in your mom bag.

Let’s get down to business!

When mentally prepping for a food focused function where there is cake, there’s a few questions to answer BEFORE you get to the event:

Do I want cake??

Will I want other sweet treats?

Will I want party potatoes?

What do I plan on drinking?

Do I want cake? Let’s face it. Not all birthday cakes are created equally. There are some store bought cakes that are NOT worth the calories. These you stay away from. Don’t worry about hurting the hosts feelings, she’ll understand the “sorry, but I’m eyeing up the fudge brownies.” Heaven forbid if you mention ANYTHING about your diabetes, people even the ones you love are food pushers. And you’ll get suckered into taking, then eating said, nasty cake.

But say the cake is Master Pastry Chef prepared, or in my case done by a talented coworker who among her many, many clinical skills also has been placed on this earth to spread the joy of sugar. If that’s the case, I hate to say it, but you’ll need willpower here. A serving size, double layer, middle piece (to avoid the frosting corner) is going to be anywhere between 1.5-2.5 carb groups or 22-37g. The larger number reflects a heavy handed frosting layer. (need a cake? go here!). 

What’s a serving size? For simplicity sake, make a circle with your middle finger and thumb touching; place cake in the middle. A little pathetic I know. Sigh.

Will I want other sweet treats? I eluded in Part 1 last week that NO ONE brought a pan of brownies. I happen to LOVE brownies. Some people have a donut habit, others prefer a fancy cupcake. Me…. I like a fudgy, brownie sans nuts. Using the same serving size guidelines as above, brownie minus frosting is also around 22 carbs.

Will I want party potatoes? I think “party potatoes” which is some version of a cheesy crusted potato casserole is more of a midwest thing. I say this because I don’t remember having them in Buffalo where I grew up. Scalloped or Au gratin potatoes yes, but not ‘party potatoes”. Although my mom would make these cheesy crock pot potatoes with frozen hashbrowns that my sister and I loathed! Perhaps that’s why I stayed away from any yellow, cubed potato until well into adulthood and until I got to Ohio. Here it appears they are a staple. They’re a tempting side especially if you are the first person in the buffet line with their Pinterest like appearance. I must admit, a scoopful usually makes its way on my plate despite me thinking this customary side dish is just ok. Anyway, if you long for this type of potato, limit yourself to 2 heaping tablespoons and call it a carb serving.

At baby girls party, baked potatoes were served. The serving of a medium baked potato is also a pathetic 45 grams of carbs. Again, refer to tip number 2 of last weeks blog post to get around this one.

What do I plan on drinking? I’m well aware that most one year old’s birthday parties don’t have a case of wine on hand. Maybe this is my west coast family influence. Or maybe secretly I was throwing myself an early birthday party. I’ll never tell. Either way, what you do plan on drinking can have a significant impact on your blood sugars. While alcohol, by itself, does not directly affect blood sugar levels, the carbs either mixed in or part of can get ya! For instance, that gin and tonic with a double lime is going to cost you 15g of carbs.

Thank you 6oz of tonic water. I had no idea!!

Best to stick with water, light beer which has some carbs, small glass of wine, tea, coffee (see the plus to that one here) or if you do diet beverages, then that. I’m not an alternative sweetener girl so I say that with a wince… hmm I see future blog post.

So all in all, if you allow yourself 4 carb servings or 60g of carbs per meal, you need to have a plan of attack PRE event. Decide what is going to be worth your calories in the carb arena. Map out your 4 then fill up with protein and veggies. Heck throw in that side of spinach, artichoke dip. Yumm!

In the meantime, if you need help tackling an event BEFORE it happens, I’d love to help. Check out my Work With Me page here. I also offer a’la carte services. Email me for the list of offerings and prices.

Until next week, Hugs!