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Seasonal Diet Tips

Explore our expert knowledge on topics such as healthy eating during the holidays, and how to live into a happier and healthier you in the New Year. Discover tips and tricks on how to avoid weight gain at holiday parties and while on vacation.

How to Stay Party Food Savvy

From the good food to the good company, everyone loves a good party! But when trying to lose weight, you may be overwhelmed with worry on whether or not you are making the right choices. While fretting about health goals and trying to have fun can be challenging, you can simultaneously conquer both with these implementing healthy food tips and tricks at the party!

How to Stay Party Food Savvy

Tips to Eating Healthy and Staying Savvy at Parties

Don't Save Up to Chow Down
While it seems logical to save up calories when anticipating a party later on that day, nutrition experts suggest not to. Showing up ravenous increases the risk of overindulging and chowing down on more food than needed or even desired. So rather than banking calories for an expected food binge, start with a healthy breakfast and lunch containing lean protein and veggies to keep hunger levels regulated. Along with consuming well-balanced meals, knock out a workout to keep you energized and motivated to make healthy choices at the party.

Make a Savvy Choice
Savvy choices equals party food savvy! While you may not think healthy party food exists, you can absolutely prepare a well-balanced meal at the event. First, find a lean protein such as chicken skewers, shrimp cocktails, or lean beef strips. Then, plate up color with available fruits and veggies. And if you do go for a side starch serving, select a sweet potato, whole grain roll, rice dish, or other fiber-filled option.

Sample Strategically
Before jumping right into plating, survey the whole buffet. Skim the whole line then decide which foods you want to fill your plate with, and which ones are best eaten in sample sizes. Additionally, do not feel pressured to eat Aunt Sally's pecan pie she is encouraging you to try. First say "Thank you," then follow up with "I am trying to watch my sweet intake" or "I'll take a small piece to try later."

Location, Location, Location
Did we mention location? Think about it... If you are parked right near the dessert table or bar, you are more likely to go for multiple servings or rounds. Positioning yourself away from such attractions can lessen their temptation and save you from hundreds of calories and a potential unpleasant morning.

Slow Down
If you are so fast that you finish two plates before your neighbor has served their first, you my need to slow down on your intake. Truly savor the foods and chew slowly, instead of gobbling your fare down quickly. Sipping on water and placing the fork down between bites are also techniques to slow down eating.

Plate Palm-Sized Portions
Along with utilizing smaller plates if available, stick to portions no bigger than the palm of your hand. Well, besides all the non-starchy veggies available... If you follow the palm portion and limit any high-calorie foods, you will be able to sample plenty of different foods while still maintaining your diet.

Ease Up On Alcohol
Do not let alcohol be the highlight of the party, as one too many drinks can dim the night and morning after. In addition to sticking to a drink or two, try limiting high-calorie cocktails and choose simple drinks like a glass of wine, light beer, vodka and soda, and gin and tonic. Also drink water throughout the night and have a glass between alcoholic beverages.

Although the tasty food is a party centerpiece, put your spotlight on the party and people. That is really the focus of any get-together anyways, right? Relish on the times spent with other party-goers, as the main purpose of any party is to socialize, right? Not only does this get you up and moving around, but takes your focus away from the party food. Encourage other guests to play games and dance the night away!

Keep Outings in Perspective
Okay, so one party will not single-handedly make or break your health efforts, but rather how you handle the following day and the totality of daily health habits. Instead of dwelling on that extra slice of pie you grabbed, brush it off and continue consuming well-balanced meals and exercising regularly. The key is to acknowledge you are making a choice to include some extra calories at a party and going back to your usual healthy lifestyle afterwards, ultimately without feeling mounds of guilt that feel too steep to climb back up.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on November 14, 2017.


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