I like to experience other people’s cooking, whether it’s family, friends or at a restaurant, it doesn’t matter. I have what seems like an endless amount of dietary restrictions, so it’s not easy, mostly for the people that need to cook for me! Anyone who tries to eat a healthy diet on a regular basis experiences the frustration of trying to maintain it when eating at a restaurant, someone else’s place or during a party. Lots of food and dessert can be a real challenge your willpower. If I even see a tiny piece of garlic bread that’s not gluten-free, I just want to try it to remember what it tastes like!
Whether you’re hosting a party, or eating elsewhere, there are ways to enjoy it without sabotaging your nutrition. Changing some habits can help you maintain it without having to give up treats altogether.
If you’re hosting
Sometimes the stress of hosting a party causes people to eat more than usual. If that’s the case, it helps to create activities that don’t focus solely on food. Here are some fun ideas that may help.
- A 20 questions game to get to know the guests better.
- Watch a movie or family videos.
- Dance competition. It can also help work off some of the food.
If food is a central part of the party, try some of these ideas.
- Serve fewer appetizers; they tend to be higher in fat and calories or look for substitutions such as veggies.
- Try to cut down on the percentage of fats and salt you cook with and substitute for some other spices. For example, I use mustard to marinate lots of things because of the low fat and calorie count, and then cut way down on the amount of oil I use.
- Space out food accordingly, so people (including you) don’t overeat.
- Eat treats in smaller quantities, such as baking in small amounts so that it gets finished in one sitting, with no tempting leftovers.
Whether you’re hosting or a guest
When food is an important part of the evening, make sure you make or choose, nutritional options. Here are some examples.
- Instead of cakes or pies for dessert, try sorbets or fruits. I know it’s not the same, but they have so much fewer calories, fats, sugar, and cholesterol! If you’re a guest, and there are none, try to forfeit the dessert.
- Cut carbs in half.
- If you’re unsure of ingredients and are shy about asking, try to eat less of that food item.
- Use less or no dressings, sauces and dips.
- If you get tempted easily, ask friends or family to help keep you in check.
Whatever changes you make, it’s important to ask family members and friends to respect your choices and to refrain from tempting you with goodies.
For additional tips on reducing calories and fat, or if you have specific concerns about your diet, consult with a nutritionist or registered dietitian.