I’m in my late 20’s and I’ve been going through the years of everyone getting married. I’ve gone to 4 weddings in the 2016-year so far. One thing that all weddings have in common, are their dinner plates. For the most part, that’s what’s going to be relatively the exact same at nearly all weddings.
As a nutrition coach, one question that I get asked a lot is “how do I stay on track, when I don’t know what will be served?”
I’m here to help! We have a few steps to take, in order to make this event a macro success:
Ask. This is probably the most reliable way to know what you’re going to have. Some RSVP cards will indicate somewhere for either plate choices, or to indicate if you have any dietary restrictions. As someone who cannot eat certain foods, this is of great importance to me. But if there isn’t that option when you RSVP, simply ask. Clearly the bride and groom are going to know what’s on the menu, but you could always ask someone in the bridal party, or a parent of the couple, because someone’s going to know. It just means you need to ask.
Check online. Depending on where the reception will be held, you may be able to do a little hunting online to see what they usually offer for their plates. I’ve personally done this before and it works out well. Now although I can guarantee you they won’t have any nutrition information, they should give you some kind of information, which can help you to guesstimate a little bit better, and therefore successfully plan ahead.
Experience. Now, from experience, most weddings are going to be a few courses.
I can almost guarantee there’s going to be a salad to start. This is usually a garden salad or a Caesar salad, at least from my experiences anyway. There may be a soup instead, depending on the venue and the season of the wedding. Again, depending on the venue and the couple’s family background, you may have a pasta course. Expect some kind of pasta with either a red or a white sauce.
Now for the main course, which is where I’ll actually be helping you out. 90% of the time, you’re going to either have chicken or beef. It’s a safe and very common option for weddings. Usually the chicken will be a breast, sometimes with a light sauce on it. The beef could be a steak, maybe a roast, or something in between. I’m not a huge steak connoisseur, so I don’t know all those fancy terms. I’m going to make an extremely safe assumption that you’re going to get about a 4-5oz portion size for either of those 2 meats. So when you’re entering it into your food app (like my favourite app, MyMacros+), you’ll want to ensure you’re entering your meat as a cooked option, because that will make a difference. You should be doing that for all of your meats on a daily basis, anyway. So there’s your protein.
Then we have your carbs. Now, as much of a veggie lover I am, I feel like weddings don’t give you nearly enough veggies on a plate. You’ll get one or two asparagus spears, a little broccoli tree, maybe a couple slices of peppers or zucchini, and a sad little solo string bean. So your total carbs won’t be high for your veggies. I usually over-estimate my carbs and for safe purposes, usually just end up entering something like ‘200g steamed broccoli’ as a safe and general bet. You could do carrots or peppers too; it’s not a huge concern of which you choose. Hopefully you’ll get some kind of potatoes with your meal too, which is where most of your carbs will be coming from. Mashed or roasted will make a difference, but if I’m to assume a portion size, let’s say about another 150-200g of potatoes (and enter them into your food app as they are presented on your plate).
Fats. You usually aren’t going to have something specific for your fats source, but I can guarantee you that everything will be cooked in some kind of oil or butter. So whenever I’m completely unaware of what to expect at a wedding, I usually plan anywhere from 15-20g of fats EXTRA after the meat has been entered into MyMacros+.
So if I was to cap this off and provide some kind of general macro count for an average wedding meal, this is what I would assume:
4.5oz roasted chicken
4.5oz roasted beef
200g steamed broccoli
150g roasted potatoes
(10g of extra fats, just in case)
P75 C45 F35
In my opinion, this is way more than enough. I usually (personally) save a large amount of my protein and fats for these event meals, because I don’t eat bread then most of my carbs source comes from the veggies.
Your dessert will be optional, and you can clearly see what’s on the plate, and that’s usually something that will vary from wedding to wedding. If you get a slice of cheesecake, then enter a slice of cheesecake. Pick one that’s accurately entered into MyMacros+ (ie. includes fibre and sugar, probably some sodium too), and not just total calories. Remember, we aren’t counting calories here, we’re counting macros.
Modify. Again, as someone who has food allergies, there’s some things I cannot have at a wedding. So then we modify. And I’ll use myself as an example for this. If they’re serving a Caesar salad, I’m going to ask for a garden salad instead. I’m not a big dressing person, so I usually go Plain Jane for that, or get balsamic vinaigrette on the side so that I can control how much goes on the salad (just make sure it’s tracked). I don’t like my lettuce swimming. I’m fine with eating all the meat and veggies, but if they’re going to give me mashed potatoes, I’m going to ask for extra veggies instead. Just cause I love my veggies. I usually don’t take dessert, unless it’s just fruit, because I cannot have dairy, which I can almost guarantee will be in any dessert that’s served at a wedding. It comes down to the first point: ask. You’ll never know unless you ask.
Alcohol. So we know there’s going to be alcohol at a wedding, whether or not it’s an open bar, I don’t care. Now, although I don’t drink, a lot of my clients (and society) do, so here’s what I’ve learned, and apply with my clients for drinking alcohol and how to track it. Please remember this isn’t the perfect formula for alcohol, nor should it be used on a daily basis, but it’s a good place to start.
Example: red wine, 5oz of Pinot Noir, 125 calories
You have two options where you can take these wine calories from: carbs or fats.
Option 1: Carbs
1g of carbs is 4 calories, so if we take 125 (wine calories) and divide it by 4 (carb calories), it would be 31g of carbs for 5oz of Pinot Noir.
Option 2: Fats
1g of fats is 9 calories, so if we take 125 and divide by 9, it would be 14g of fats for 5oz of Pinot Noir.
So you can take total alcohol calories from either your carbs or your fats, per glass, or per serving.
Midnight bar. What they serve at the midnight bar is unknown to me, and it’s usually something a little more unique and custom to what the couple likes. This, unfortunately, I cannot help you with.
One night. Remember, this is just one night. And just like one good meal isn’t going to make you lose fat, one bad meal isn’t going to make you gain fat. For my clients, I always tell them to be mindful of what they consume and how they feel. If you go overboard, expect to feel bloated the next day. Always drink lots of water, and remember to have fun!
I hope the information that I did provide you with is beneficial and something that you can apply to your future wedding attendances!