Whether you are invited to a party or hold a party yourself, it’s easy to end up having too much of a good thing. This article is our attempt to share our best tips and tricks about making healthy choices at a party:

If you are invited to a party 

If you are invited to a party, it may be difficult to have any control over what is served. However, there are plenty of tricks you can use to ensure your choices are healthy.

Check what you are being invited toWhen you accept an invitation, you can take the opportunity to ask what the party is going to entail if you can’t tell from the invitation. You need to know whether what is going to be on offer is nutritious or just a lot of sweet nibbles. When you know what is going to be on offer, you can create a strategy for what you should do before, during and after the party.

Before the party If you know that only sweet nibbles are going to be served, or other food that you don’t want to eat too much of, a sensible thing to do is to eat something before the party so that you are not going to get there feeling too hungry and needing to fill up on something you intended to eat less of. Skipping meals in the course of the day to ‘save’ calories for the party is rarely a good idea – it often means you end up feeling extra hungry and having difficulty making rational choices at the party. If there are only going to be sweet nibbles at the party, you may want to eat a main meal beforehand. Breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on which part of the day the party is being held. If food is going to be served, then a moderately substantial snack beforehand may be enough.

During the party Often, a buffet will be served with plenty of goodies at a party, and it’s easy to help yourself to a bit of everything. It’s often a better strategy to take a step back and look at what is on offer, choosing only the things you really like. Taking a moderately large piece of that delicious chocolate cake may often be a more nutritious choice than filling your party plate with sweet nibbles. If there is a buffet of food, it may make sense to put together a meal with one carbohydrate source, one protein source and vegetables, instead of taking a bit of everything, which can easily become too much.

After the party Ideally, you should have prepared or planned some food at home so that you know you’ll have the time and energy to eat a healthy meal after the party and don’t need to be tempted into eating fast food or similar on your way home.

Your own party
If you are organising a party yourself, you can take the opportunity to try using healthy party recipes. If you’re going to do food, why not provide something fresh and nutritious? If you’re inviting people for coffee and a snack, think about making a nice bean brownie, some fresh ‘ice cream’ consisting of frozen berries and quark, or something similar. More fruit and vegetables in the recipe will make the snack more nutritious and will mean it contains a more appropriate number of calories! 

By Malin Randeniye, registered dietitian