Sticking to your 80:20 eating plan can be most challenging when you’re socialising as you can find yourself either wanting to throw the towel in and completely overindulge or opt-out altogether. Neither are good options! Food is a form of celebration and should be enjoyed and this doesn’t mean your food diary has to suffer.
Follow these tips to thoroughly enjoy a food diary-friendly dinner party:
If you’re a guest…
- Nuts and hors d’oeuvres can quickly add 300+ kcal to your evening. Focus your hunger on the dining table courses
- You can tuck into the protein, vegetables and leafy greens but if there’s a large helping of creamy dauphinoise potatoes (for example), have a taste and don’t eat it all
- If it’s self-serve, fill half your plate with vegetables or salad
- Smile at the bread and then let it flirt with someone else
- Don’t miss out entirely but request a mini-portion of pudding
- Choose pudding or cheese, not both
- Swap petit-fours for a peppermint tea which can help aid digestion and cleanse the palate, signalling the end of the meal
- If you’re drinking alcohol, Try to stick to one or two drinks across the evening: try having one glass before and one with dinner
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat slowly and rest your knife and fork between mouthfuls. You will digest as you eat and feel fuller when you finish
If you’re the host…
- Be inclusive by serving healthy hors d’oeuvres for all. Leaner options include Padron peppers, spring vegetable crudités with a variety of humous-styles, stuffed mushrooms, asparagus, prawns, quails’ eggs, sashimi and olives
- Show off the nutrition knowledge you’ve gained with your choice of dishes People are more likely to be interested in the nutrients they gain than the calories they’re saving!
- Theming the evening’s food can be a glamorous way to offer healthy options: Japanese, Scandinavian and Mediterranean cuisines are all centred around lean protein and vegetables making sure your food diary is 100%
- Include multiple vegetables with different colours and textures. Present them in different ways to add interest: whole, blended, mashed, grated, sliced, diced, cubed or spiralised
- Put effort into the non-alcoholic drink option: mix equal parts apple juice and soda water, garnish with lime wedges, pomegranate seeds & fresh mint
Dinner Party Menu – Serves 4
Asian Seared Tuna Steak with Spicy Mango Slaw
- 4 tuna steaks, about 125g each
- 2-3 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 ripe mango
- 2 ripe avocados
- 4 spring onions
- 1 red pepper
- 1 head of Chinese leaf (cabbage) or romaine lettuce
- ½ pack of fresh coriander
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- Place the sesame seeds on a plate and roll the tuna steaks until fully coated.
- For the slaw, finely slice the mango, avocado, red pepper, spring onions and Chinese leaf as thinly as possible, and place in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice.
- Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to ensure it coats all the vegetables. Scatter over chopped coriander leaves and chilli flakes.
- Place a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. After 1-2 minutes, when the pan is hot, lay the tuna steaks in and allow to cook for 2 minutes before flipping and cooking for 1-2 minutes on the other side. You may need to increase or decrease the time depending on the thickness of the steaks and how you like your tuna cooked.
- Slice each tuna steak into thin slices and serve on top of the slaw. Garnish with a wedge of lime and another scatter of chilli flakes.
Chocolate mousse with coconut and raspberry
- 2 very ripe medium avocados
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup or honey, to your taste
- 3-4 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 120g frozen raspberries
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Place the raspberries in a microwaveable bowl and heat on high for 60 seconds. Gently crush with the back of a spoon.
- Place the avocado flesh, cocoa powder, honey and vanilla into a food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth, gradually adding the milk until you are happy with the consistency. Divide between four small tumblers. Top with chunky coconut shavings.