It’s true that dinner parties with business clients or relatives aren’t always fun.  But it’s safe to say those events are even less enjoyable if you are struggling with keeping your diet intact.

Sure, keeping your diet intact at home may be easy: buy and cook the right foods, follow the portions, count the calories. But keeping your diet intact at a family dinner or business event often feels out of place. Good food and no fun. And what’s worse, you don’t want to insult the host by not eating.

However keeping your diet intact is important.  For example, the latest research from the National Institutes of Health shows Americans gain roughly a pound through the winter holiday season, attending all the family gatherings, the company Christmas party, etc.  That additional pound doesn’t sound like much, but very often people never lose that extra pound and it eventually adds up.

So how do you enjoy a family dinner or a business cocktail party while keeping your diet intact?  It’s simple. Eat! But be smart.

Family events and even work related functions aren’t a time to deny yourself an indulgence you just can’t miss, but don’t overdo it and be sure to count it towards your daily calorie total. 

keeping your diet intactHere’s a dieter’s party guide to help you be polite while keeping your diet intact.

The guide is customized to the event.

Tips for Keeping Your Diet Intact at a Cocktail Party:

You may think cocktail party hors d’oeuvres are so small they couldn’t possibly hurt your diet, but you’re wrong.  Most cocktail party treats are incredibly high in calories for such a small portion, meaning you’re adding up the calories without any of the satisfaction of feeling full. To keep from over-indulging, follow these helpful tips: 

  • Do a walk-through of the party and scope out the hors d’oeuvres selection when you first arrive. That way you’ll know exactly what you want to save your calories for.
  • Don’t stand near the hors d’oeuvres throughout the party. It’s a dangerous spot that’s far too tempting.
  • Upon arrival, give yourself about 15 minutes with a non-caloric beverage like sparkling water. Party guests usually start with the food as a social buffer, but this can lead to overdoing it. Likewise, if you go straight for a cocktail, you’re more likely to over-indulge in foods later.
  • For every cocktail or glass of wine, have a glass of water. This will keep you fuller longer, and keep you from drinking too much.

Tips for Keeping Your Diet Intact at a Dinner Party:

Dinner parties, either in a restaurant or in someone’s home can be difficult for dieters. To keep calories low without bringing attention to your diet, follow these helpful tips: 

  • Always order the steamed vegetable or mixed greens as a side
  • Avoid cream-based soups and salad dressings
  • Avoid the bread basket
  • Choose lean protein
  • Stick to a maximum of one alcoholic beverage

And a final thought for both events.  Get social while keeping your diet intact!

Instead of standing by the food table, walk around and engage in conversation. Also as mentioned above, drink plenty of water.

If you want the medical rule for how much water to drink, figure about one ounce of water for every kilogram you weigh.  Drink more if you are sweating while exercising or even just throughout the day.  If you want the practical reason to drink water, it will keep you fuller longer, and keep you from drinking too much.

Dr. Sejal Shah

Dr. Sejal Shah, MD, FAAP, serves as the Associate Medical Director of Medi-Weightloss Clinics® and the Medical Director ofPowerPlay™, an adolescent weight management program which was developed for Medi-Weightloss Clinics by a team of experts in pediatrics, nutrition, bariatrics, and public health. 

Dr. Shah is helping lead the battle against overweight and obesity among adults and adolescents.

More on keeping your diet intact:

Say Goodbye to those Diet Derailing Excuses

6 Week Plan for Healthy Eating