Here are ten doable tips to make it happen:
Think long term: Don’t beat yourself up over a bite of artichoke dip. Or the fact that you ate one too many chocolate truffles. Where does what you’re eating now fit into your healthy eating day and week? Take a look at your social calendar and see where you should be vegetable heavy so you can balance your party bites. Cocktail party at night? Make sure you’re eating healthy at breakfast, lunch and snack.
Find your fiber: Fiber from fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans keeps you full. If you find the fiber at the party, you’ll feel satisfied and less likely to over eat. Stop by the crudités, pick up a whole-wheat pita and peruse the Texas caviar with black beans.
Skip dips: Many dips are made with a high calorie base like sour cream, cream cheese, melted cheese or even straight butter. Dipping what could be a healthy snack like shrimp, into a calorie dense spread really piles up. You’re likely to over portion the dip and after a few dunks, you’re up to 200 calories from Ranch dressing alone.
Bite sized is chic: No one looks cute inhaling a huge piece of pie. Scope out the appetizer sized portions of desserts. French macarons, tiny tarts and a single cake pop will fit into your ‘treat’ calorie limit.
Fuel up pre-party: Don’t depend on you host or hostess to provide healthy food on time. If the food is delayed, you’ll be ravenous and eat quickly to fill up before you even realize you’re stuffed! Or remember that party you went to that only served wings and beer? Yeah. Good thing you ate before hand.
Clean cocktails: The biggest thing on the social circuit right now is a signature cocktail. Unfortunately, many drinks have artificial dyes, tons of syrupy liquors and a soda mixer. A single cocktail could be 250 calories, most of it from sugar, and there’s no way you’ll feel full from one drink. Get your drink personalized and hit the bar to ask for a vodka seltzer or a small glass of wine.
Plate your food: When you’re making your appearance during a party, you’ll grab a little of this, one of those from a platter and after an hour who the hell knows how much you actually ate. There’s no evidence! Have a cocktail napkin or small plate to place your snacks. This will help you gauge how much you’re really eating.
Balance every event: Make an effort to have a balanced ‘meal’, be it breakfast, brunch, or cocktails. Are you eating all grains? All sweets? What can you eat to get a fruit, vegetable, whole grain and lean protein?
3 bite rule: So there are no mini desserts. Only one massive, 3 person sized cupcake. If you have a hard time stopping yourself on desserts, take three bites. The first bite taste and enjoy. Is it what you thought it would be? If not, STOP. If yes, have another bite and confirm it. By bite three, say goodbye. Studies indicate, after three bites, specific flavors won’t taste as good as the first.
Enjoy friends first: Social events are for socializing. You’re there to mingle, see old friends and make new ones. Put the focus on friends, not food.