Stay the Course at Dinner Parties 

Stay the Course


For those of us perusing a healthy lifestyle, dinner parties and family events might seem to be a looming hurdle. How can you enjoy yourself and avoid offending the host while staying on track? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you experience a guilt-free dinner.

Load up on veggies

Offer to bring a vegetable dish to ensure you’ll have something healthy to fill your plate. There are many delicious salad options as well as warm vegetable dishes that travel well. You can also bring a vegetable-laden appetizer such as a relish tray with low calorie dip.

Portion your plate

Start with the healthy foods to avoid calorie overload. Fill half of your plate with vegetables and about 3/4 of your remaining plate with protein. In the remaining space, put the carbohydrates and starches such as potatoes, rolls, and pasta salad. Because you’ll be limited on space, you won’t overeat those less-healthy items. It’s likely you’ll find that just a taste is enough to satisfy the craving.

Take a pause

After you finish your plate of food, have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes before going for seconds. More often than not, you’ll realize you’re full already.  

Avoid drinking calories

As a guest, you have limited control over how many calories you consume during dinner. But, one thing you can control is drinking calories. Avoid beverages such as juice and soda, and stick with water. You can even offer to bring low-calorie options such as ice tea with lemon wedges, infused water, or a healthy “cocktail” such as calorie-free sparkling water with mint and lime. If you want to have a glass of wine, drink it with dinner and make sure you have water as well.

Enjoy dessert in moderation

You don’t need to avoid dessert entirely. In fact, depriving yourself might cause you to resent your new lifestyle and overindulge later. Allow yourself one tiny piece, about three bites. Take your time and savor every bite. You might be surprised to find that just a few bites are enough. Sip green tea or an espresso with dessert. Green tea is good for the metabolism and espresso can jump start the metabolism to help your body burn calories.

Add in exercise

Fit in a workout before dinner if possible. Exercise will ignite your metabolism so your body can burn more calories. If weather permits, after dinner you can invite your friends and family to do something active, such as taking a walk or playing an outdoor game. Several lawn sports such as croquet, bad mitten, horseshoes, and bocce ball are fun for people of all ages and fitness levels.


We realize that making healthy adjustments to dinner is easier when you’re the host, but you can apply these tips as a guest. A host will rarely turn you down if you offer to bring a healthy dish and a fun activity for exercise.