How to Stay Party Food Savvy
Everyone likes a good party, but watching your weight while trying to have fun can be a bit of a challenge. It’s tough to face those tempting treats from the tray—especially at holiday parties.
Even though it's important you have fun at your party, there are a few things you need to keep in mind—you aren’t in your home kitchen, and usually, you can’t see the nutritional labels or the calorie count.
What is a confused party-goer to do? Well, here’s how to stay party food savvy, while still enjoying the party.
1. Don’t Waste the Day
When you eat a healthy breakfast and lunch that contain lean protein, you are less likely to overindulge when it comes time to party. Make sure you don’t try to bank calories, as this will make you hungrier and less able to control what foods you eat later.
Make sure you eat the right foods at the right time. This way, you will feel completely capable of controlling the foods you choose to sample at the party.
2. Have a Strategy for Sampling
Before selecting the foods you want to sample, take a good look at the whole palette. Tunnel vision won’t serve you well when you have a stack of potato salad staring back at you. Skim the entire selection of party foods. Decide which foods you want to fill your plate with, and which ones are best eaten in sample sizes.
3. Location, Location, Location
If you’ve plopped yourself down in a chair close to the dessert section, you are more likely to take an extra slice—without even thinking twice.
Try to sit next to a “healthier” area of foods, like the fruit section or the veggie tray.
4. Build a Smart and Savvy Plate
When examining all of those party foods, find a lean protein like chicken skewers, a shrimp cocktail, or lean beef strips. Once you have that, go on the hunt for veggies or fruit.
If you are craving something starchy, make sure it’s a food that’s fiber-rich, like hummus with whole grain chips.
5. Pace Yourself!
Don’t finish your second plate of food before your neighbor has even finished their first—this may be seen as rude. Instead, slow down and savor each party food, don’t gobble it down in one bite. This will also help control your urge to go back for seconds.
6. Portion Size = Your Palm
If you follow the palm portion rule and don’t take a serving of any high-calorie foods larger than your palm (minus your fingers), you will be able to sample plenty of different foods, and still maintain your diet.
7. Watch How Much You Drink
Have a cocktail, but make it an after-dinner cocktail. Before you drink a mixed drink or any alcoholic beverage, it’s important that you eat something first.
Try to limit the high-calorie cocktails, and instead, choose simple drinks like vodka and soda, or gin and tonic. You can also turn up the twang with a small twist of lime.
If you prefer beer, make sure it’s light beer, and don’t drink more than two.
8. Work the Room
The main purpose of any party is to socialize, so why not work the room? This gets you up and moving around, and takes your focus away from the party food.
Encourage other guests to play games, or to take part in different activities that get you up and moving around.