Top tips for a food diary-friendly dinner party


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
  1. Place the sesame seeds on a plate and roll the tuna steaks until fully coated.
  2. 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.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice.
  4. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to ensure it coats all the vegetables. Scatter over chopped coriander leaves and chilli flakes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  1. Place the raspberries in a microwaveable bowl and heat on high for 60 seconds. Gently crush with the back of a spoon.
  2. 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.