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How To Eat Healthy At A Party

guys, here is something we have written for the site and for people who are reading the tip of the day email series. please add your experiences and any other tips you have for when you go out.



Thu. Oct 23, 12:31pm

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Most of the parties I go to aren't fancy and catered, just a gathering of friends. I bring my own veggie tray with low fat ranch and hummus to dip. I usually end up eating 1/2 of it myself.

I am usually the first to volunteer to be DD.

If I am drinking I fill my cup up with water at least once between each alcoholic beverage. I also make a commitment as to how much I am going to drink beforehand and let my PT group mates know so that I can be accountable to them the next day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008, 1:22 PM

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Find someone to talk to... far, far away from the food. Engage in conversation, not appetizers. Try NOT to park near ANY of the food.

Chew really minty gum.

Fill up a plate, eat what you take and throw your plate AWAY when you're done. I find that having an empty plate in hand is just an excuse to go fill it up.

Find something else to do with your hands - carry a clutch or wristlet, and keep water in the other hand.

If you think there's going to be any dead time... like at a Christmas party between dinner, presents and the third round desserts... and you don't feel like talking, bring a book or crossword puzzle to prevent snacking to pass the time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008, 4:37 PM

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I find its always helpful for me to eat a snack before I go to a party so I don't fixate on the food and my hunger while I'm there.

Saturday, October 25, 2008, 3:07 PM

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party tips

I really identify with the tip about the party food not being that great. I always think this is the only time I will get it. When it's really a big lie. When I do indulge, it's not that good. However, it usually opens the door to overeating when I do eat it. I am going for the fruit and veggies next time-it will keep me in control.

Friday, October 31, 2008, 12:21 PM

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The party food at my parties is always excellent and most often made from scratch... Perhaps specify corporate party food is usually crap.

Chewing gum at a party is bad ettiquete.

Friday, October 31, 2008, 12:34 PM

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But so is pulling up to a buffet and eating like it's the kitchen table. If people are going to judge me on anything let it be my bad manners and not my fat butt.

Friday, October 31, 2008, 2:09 PM

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I'd judge terrible manners much worse than a fat butt. Much easier to change manners than lose weight. I'd assume if you have no regard for ettiquete, you lack the discipline needed to lose your fat butt. Or alternatively, given that manners relate to consideration, your disregard is a sign of self absorbtion. Personally both are worse judgements than you eat too many cheetos and don't work out enough.

Friday, October 31, 2008, 2:23 PM

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guys were going off topic here.. OP have a light snack before you go to the party. than fill your plate with veg and fresh fruit and maybe a few crackers and pick three things to try. for desserts stick to three bites and watch how much you drink.. alcohol carries alot of empty calories, but enjoy the good conversation and music..
thats what I do. also you could bring a soft mint to eat after you are done to refresh your mouth so you will be able to resist eating again.

just set yourself guidelines and make a plan and stick to that plan. reward yourself for sticking to that plan.

a hot bubble bath after the party.. perhaps.


Sunday, November 02, 2008, 1:45 AM

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OK call me loony, but I had hoped to find this article dealing with some of the psychological aspects of parties & buffets. As a long timer, being on a diet for almost 2 years I've mastered the "techniques." What I haven't mastered is stuff that psychs me out - eating with family, the fact that every time I touch food the people in the room who know I've just lost 120 pounds look at me like I'm on a tightrope - I can see in their faces that they worry every time I have my three bites of chocolate cake that I might gain it back. it's the psychological effect of parties that gives me (and others, I'm sure) trouble at parties. Everyone watching everything I eat (or so I imagine), the all-or-nothing attitude (I had one brownie so I might as well just blow off diets for the day - week - year, whatever) the old family favorites like gramma's candied walnuts with 300 calories each, the I-paid-for-this-buffet-so-I-am-getting-my-money's-worth attitude - these things I need help with. The tips are great but unhelpful if the psychological stuff makes me throw caution to the wind and either give up on my diet for the day out of sheer frustration, or get so frustrated I polish off a whole bucket of cake and ice cream after a day's "resisting temptation." Maybe Peertrainer could provide us an article on how to fix our brains as we are fixing our bodies.

Thursday, June 18, 2009, 2:04 PM

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2:04 - two great resources for you...

The Beck Diet Solution and Mindless Eating. One (Beck) addresses all those issues you mention and how to stop our brains from throwing caution to the wind, as you say. It basically calls attention to all the little lies we tell ourselves to justify our eating! Great book for this kind of stuff.

Mindless Eating is a great book about human behavior and what research tells us about eating and why we often eat more than we intend to. Very fun, interesting studies like the one where people ate a lot more more multicolored M&Ms than same colored M&Ms (lesson: more variety = eating more.) Or how we often go by visual cues to determine how much to eat vs. physiological or physical cues. The study involved an endless bowl of soup - those who were eating from bowls that were rigged to remain full ate SO much more soup than those were able to see the soup bowl empty. Or how foods with exotic or fancy names compelled us to eat more than those with basic names. Same food, different names - people at more of the fancy named foods. Or studies that show how we eat exponentially more as the number of people we're dining with goes up. Group dinners = calorie disasters! Great insight into things we're often not aware of!

Thursday, June 18, 2009, 2:51 PM

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If you only go to parties occasionally I don't see why you can't leave your diet at home for a night. Try to eat sensibly, but if you eat too much don't beat yourself up over it. After all, you want to have fun at the party and not spend all night stressing over the food right?

If you go to parties often, you might need a different strategy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009, 4:24 PM

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I don't know about the OP, but being exposed to large quantities of food (that's up for grabs) extends beyond parties. If it's not a party, it's the catered luncheon at work, or the get together to watch the game, or the Father's Day gathering, or this event or that event. It honestly never ends. It may not be a formal, invite kind of affair, but learning to deal with my environment and social situations where there's food - a MUST for me!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009, 4:32 PM

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how to eat healthy at a party

I bring the vegie tray with low fat dip also. And fill my plate with them and ad a bit of the salads, pastas and desserts. Maybe a tablespoon or so just so i get a taste of whatever it is that i only get once a year when my family gets together. I've also learned i am there for the company not to gorge myself, lol. I try to spend most of the time visiting and catching up...

Saturday, July 18, 2009, 9:37 PM

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I just think of all of those people touching everything - who knows who washes their hands and who doesn't, who was just on the subway, who touched a door handle, etc. Ick!!! The food that's been touched - eww. And even the serving utensils!

Also, if I don't know the person who cooked, I don't assume their kitchen is clean or that they use good food-handling practices; I know too many people who don't!!

So, just thinking about the possibility of catching the stomach flu, swine flu, salmonella, e. coli, etc., makes it very easy for me to not eat much at parties. Maybe I'm a bit crazy, but it does make all that food seem massively unappealing!

Monday, July 20, 2009, 1:01 PM

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That's so true!! People are touching everything and who even knows if they washed their hands after the bathroom. That is enough to keep me away from the party apps.

Monday, July 20, 2009, 3:46 PM

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Great subject! I have always stuffed my face on parties and today we are having a party at the office, so this tip of the day came in perfect timming.
I already got my apples, oranges and lite yoghurt ready.

Friday, July 31, 2009, 2:57 PM

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according to me when i go for a party i always go with my boy of 3yrs old and feed him the time he finishes his food i would be tired enough to ndulge in any other activites. So i finish my food with whatever i can get in opne plate never mind to refill it again. But as you said the dessert part is that really do harm on my all health tips. This three bites is supreb and i'll try this during next party.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009, 5:15 AM

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I usually dont go for any snacks.. i stick to fruit bar.. and water.. or if juice is available then that.. for dinner.. in India most of dinner is always buffet way so its easy to choose what u want... I fill my plate with loads of salad and then i take 1-2 vegetables which are max 2 spoons of it.. and have it with half wheat bread.. ( i cant do without wheat bread we have in India.. it more or less looks like a tortilla.. so i go for half of it.. )
I avoid having any dessert.. if i have to .. i do stick to 3 spoon rule..

Wednesday, September 30, 2009, 1:12 AM

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eating at a party

I like all these ideas, especially the one about bringing your own food. I am going to a birthday party Saturday, where everyone has been enlisted to bring the birthday girl's favorite homemade goodies!! YIKES!!! So I will definitely bring a fruit or vegetable tray, because I don't think either of those will be brought by anyone else. All I have heard so far is cheesecake, cheese straws, chocolate cake and pizza. But if I can fill up on the healthy stuff first, then allow my self one or 2 slices of veggie or grilled chicken pizza, and stick with the 3 bites of dessert, I think I shall be good to go! I also like the idea of keeping busy. Sometimes I will knit or crochet at home to keep my hands busy. Why not at a party, especially if it is a gathering of family? Obviously that might not work at a company get together, but there are other things you can do to keep your hands or mind occupied so you don't pick up a plate.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 7:35 AM

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parties and food

This post came at the best time. I belong to a group of friends who have been getting together for over 30 years for "Gourmet." Get the picture? Because of our ever expanding families, we have found it more and more difficult to find dates when we can all be together (there are 10 of us), however, just yesterday one of our members threw out a date that was agreeable to us all and that in itself is reason for us to celebrate. We all love these gatherings and food is only slightly less central to the joy of being together, as we all enjoy cooking AND eating.
We each bring a food catagory: the hosting couple provides the entree (always animal centered), and the other 4 couples provide the appetizer, bread & wine, side dish (salad or other), dessert. I am bringing the side dish this time. The hostess has decided to make this an old fashioned BBQ, so I am bringing a non- mayo potato salad and a hugh raw kale salad, which is what I am planning on heaping on my plate so that I only have a little space for the entree and potato salad. It's the appetizers and desert presentation that will present the biggest opportunity for me to put your tips to use. Thanks for them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 1:29 PM

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party food

The problem with food at a party is many people serve - terrible food. I have been too many parties where I don’t see a vegetable in site, except for decoration. Which was that despite I ate! I am leaning more and more towards a vegetarian diet, one party I went to was gluttony of meat! So there I was eating chips and cake because why, I was starving. I love how you have informed me of how hungry I am, it is really true, I need to keep this in mind and fill up with the good stuff.

Friday, July 02, 2010, 6:49 AM

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I started to make suggestions about how to handle parties, but I realized as I type this that I with all my tricks I am able to make it through the party without falling off the wagon, but typically fall off the next day big time. The feeling of being deprived of all the treats I saw, together with a slight hangover, reduced sleep and just the come down after a night of laughing seem to be overwhelming for me. As I type this, I have decided to try "cheating" a little more while at parties.

But for those of you still looking for tips, I rarely eat past 6pm so I rarely eat anything at parties. If it's a dinner party, I try to bring things I know I can have. If I'm responsible for the meat, I will bring a healthy vegetarian alternative alongside. If I am to bring dessert I bring something chocolate but also a fruit salad.

Friday, July 02, 2010, 11:00 AM

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Thursday, April 09, 2020, 3:06 AM

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Monday, July 13, 2020, 5:26 PM

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Parties come in many forms. If you choose appetizers, only those that contain natural products: cheese, the best caviar, fish, olives. As for alcohol, it is best to choose wine, champagne, whiskey or gin. In any way, alcohol is harmful to the body. It is important not to overindulge.

Sunday, November 05, 2023, 4:23 AM

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