Happily, I recently flew to New York to attend my oldest niece’s wedding. I was excited for the wedding, but worried that all the unhealthy food choices would ruin the healthy diet plan that I had been following at home.

So, before attending the wedding, in my hotel room, I developed a plan of action. I knew it was important to stick to the Mediterranean diet which limits refined carbohydrates such as pasta, breads, potatoes and rice and therefore lowers your sugar intake. This diet emphasizes eating lean proteins and vegetables that have few saturated fats. It is the sugar and saturated fats that cause inflammation in the body which can lead to heart problems, joint pain and cancer.

Taking control of the amount of food I would be consuming was crucial to avoid weight gain. I promised myself that at the smorgasbord, I would fill at least one half of my plate with vegetables. Grilled vegetables would be ideal. It is best to avoid sauces since they have lots of sugars and fats. I knew pickles and olives were a safe bet. Olives are so nutritious, filled with omega 9 fats that help with heart and skin health.

I decided that I would avoid red meat and instead look for grilled fish and chicken dishes since they have fewer saturated fats. Asian dishes are generally healthier, being stir fried, rather than deep fried. The omega 3 fatty acids in fish are also helpful for heart, joint and brain health. Since I love salads, I plan on filling my plate with salad. Hopefully, I will be able to find a salad that is not already dressed. The dressings would add unnecessary calories. Spritzing the salad with lemon juice and/or olive oil would be a better option.

Now, for the main meal. I would choose a plain soup for the appetizer and avoid soup that is ‘creamed’. Instead chicken broth (without noodles) or vegetable soup is preferred. A small salad is also a good alternative. I would once again choose a main dish with a lean protein and a steamed vegetable on the side. Since sweet potatoes (not regular potatoes) are very nutritious, if offered, I might splurge and have a half of a sweet potato and a vegetable as a side dish.

Now, the hardest part is choosing a dessert without feeling deprived. Ideally, there would be a fruit cup option. I could eat it with a small piece of dark chocolate and a half a glass of red wine. That would satisfy my sweet tooth and provide me with the flavonoids (type of antioxidant) that protect the heart and brain by improving blood flow. I suppose if I wanted to save on calories, herbal tea would be a wiser choice than wine. I have also learned that I could order a decadent dessert (in addition to the fruit) and only taste a forkful of it. This would satisfy my craving for sweets and leave me feeling less deprived.

I am happy to report that I followed through with my eating plan of action, enjoyed my trip immensely and did not gain any weight. Those at my table were so impressed with my food choices, that I picked up some new clients for nutritional counseling.