With offerings like baked brie and champagne during cocktail hour and red wine-braised short ribs and cheesy potato gratin at dinner, the willpower to stick to your diet often flies out the window as soon as you arrive at a party.
With the new year, so too comes a renewed focus on finally losing those 10 pounds, dining out less, and choosing nutrition over convenience. But that doesn’t mean you have to put an end to your weekly girls' wine night or Sunday night family-style dinner parties. You’ve just got to party smart.
Whether you’re a guest at a party, or hosting your own, it helps to be mentally prepared by looking at a party for what it is — a get-together of friends — rather than an excuse to overindulge. For Tosca Reno, NTP, a health and fitness expert, and New York Times best-selling author of The Eat-Clean Diet, that means eating first. It might seem counterintuitive, yet snacking smart before arriving ensures that Reno is not ragingly hungry and can simply enjoy a few morsels. “Besides, a plate piled high with food is not the best accessory for your little black dress.”
And when it comes to party food, Reno advocates choosing whole foods over processed ones. Say good-bye to processed chips and cheese dip. “There are so many ways to provide healthier options for all party favorites,” says Reno. Party foods don’t often include greens and fruits — but there is no reason why they can’t have a place at the party. Serve up a rainbow of chopped vegetables with a hearty bean dip for a cocktail party, or a flavorful spinach salad with bright citrus before dinner. You can even serve dessert, if you’d like — make it fruit!
So if you indulged in one too many glasses of boozy egg nog or slices of triple-cream cheese this past holiday season, and are now feeling the consequences both in your slightly-fuzzy mind and expanding waistline, think twice about declining that dinner party invitation. Whether you’re the host or guest, there are a couple of simple rules to remember the next time you gather around the table with friends.