Party On!

So you wanna have a cocktail party…except you don’t drink alcohol and are on a diet/watching what you eat. None of which apply to the friends and folks you’d like to invite. What’s to do?

There is an answer that is a win, win and you get to enjoy chocolate and “mocktails” to your heart’s content. And don’t worry, we’ll plug in some exercise to work off some of the higher calorie foods that sneak in!

I’m sure you’ve all read how to survive a cocktail or other party basics – this post is geared toward the traditional “cocktail type” party:

– eat a small protein rich meal before you go – this will fill you up and keep you from eating everything in sight once you’re there

– take the time to chat with folks first, don’t just head for the food table

– enjoy a drink/cocktail but try to keep it to one then switch to seltzer/club soda with a splash of fruit juice. Ok, maybe 2 cocktails!

– once at the food table, focus on the veggies with a bit of dip on the side and select 2 or 3 items that appeal to you the most. Try not to overload your plate so if you feel peckish a few hours later, another trip back won’t knock your calorie counts completely out the window!

– But what do you do when you’re having your own cocktail party?

Here are my tips for a fabulous party you and your waistline can feel good about:

  • Pre-planning:  besides figuring out your guest list and sending out invites, take the time to think about a balanced food / activity evening to address the excess eating possibilities
  • Menu: think balance and do your research! Sure the meat and cheeses are a standard, but so is the veggie tray with low cal dressings/dips, relatively low cal shrimp and cocktail sauce, and sneaky healthy sweet dips like cookie dough dip (will be including the recipe). For beverages, pre-prepared cocktail mixes make cocktails quick and easy. But having a selection of full sugar and sugar free sodas, seltzer and club soda with fruit juice, and plain water (fancy if you like) will make you and I’m sure a number of your friends happy!
  • Burn off those calories!: Whether you have a dj or just a boom box with an ipod dance mix, have a place for folks to get down and for you to burn off that triple creme brie on a water cracker you just noshed. Another alternative is seriously fun and sure to get everyone laughing. If you have an xbox or wii type system, get out your active games, preferably multi player, clear some space, and pop in a dance or hula hoop set, round up folks, and get to it! Besides the inevitable hilarity and getting everyone involved to cheer their favorites on, when you join in you’re torching calories and enjoying the endorphin rush.
  • Spend your time wisely: the more time you are spending greeting, chatting, making sure friends have drinks and are having a good time, the less tempted you will be to nibble. Plus it paves the way for your next party – maybe a themed one?
  • Finally, Be Sneaky!: Check out recipes for low cal, great tasting dips, choose water and low cal crackers, and keep the calories in check by making as much from scratch as you can. That way you can substitute lower cal ingredients and no one will be the wiser.

I hear you now: Lara, I’ve put on tons of parties and I’ve got it down. I can set up an amazing buffet spread, effortlessly whip up cocktails and charm everyone with my wit and the latest dish. Fab, leave a comment to add to the party fun! It’s getting into summer fun so pool party and other special occasion tips are welcome!!

Finally, an insider’s trick to an amazing, healthy chocolate dip with special thanks to “chocolatecoveredkatie”. It was a huge hit at my party last night and makes a tasty breakfast (don’t tell anyone about the breakfast part!). And don’t worry about the garbanzo beans. Trust me, NO ONE knew the difference!

Cookie Dough Dip

Inspired by this awesome recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained) (250g)
  • 1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
  • tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (You can get away with using only 3 T. If you use peanut butter, it’ll have a very-slight “pb cookie dough” taste, so if you don’t want this, you can sub oil.)
  • up to 1/4 cup milk of choice (Start with 1 T, and add more as needed)
  • Sweetener (see note below, for amount)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips or Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips
  • 2 to 3 T oats (or flaxmeal) (You can omit, but also omit the milk if you do)
  • dash of cinnamon

Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a good food processor (not blender), and blend until very smooth. Add extra milk and oats to get the right consistency. I used sugar as sweetener and some brown sugar (stevia mix) but using truvia or other sugar substitutes is just fine. Make sure to taste test! Transfer the dip to a bowl, then mix in the chocolate chips.

Pour the finished dip to a nice bowl, then on a platter surrounded by low fat plain graham crackers.

Trust me, no one will know this is low-cal and healthy. They’ll be too busy eating as much of it as polite, then sneaking over for more. This stuff really tastes like fantastic cookie dough right before you put the cookies in the oven!

Love your comments and be back tomorrow with more weight loss, exercise, and healthy living tips and tricks! See you then!

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7 thoughts on “Party On!

  1. I found out how many cals are in alcohol and it is RIDICULOUS, each 10ml neat alcohol is 56 Calories!! Meaning if you drink a lot you basically don’t need to eat any more. Well, you do but you know what I mean. Anyway after drink number 2 or 3 alcohol’s never gonna make you feel any better. It’s all a waste of time!

    • Personally, I totally agree. I’ve had maybe 1 drink in the last year (due mainly to meds) but also decided awhile ago that I didn’t want to waste calories by drinking them (sodas, sweetened drinks of any kind). Unless it’s a protein drink or breakfast healthy smoothie, I stick to water and unsweetened green tea. Stay hydrated and the green tea has been shown to help burn calories rather than add them. Having a treat drink once in a blue moon, especially socially, is fine. But I’ve found that I’d rather use the calories in a small cupcake or a bit of vanilla low cal frozen yogurt! Feeling healthier (and smaller) is better than any wine buzz!!

  2. I can’t stand chick peas (garbanzo beans) but have to admit I ate this dip and had no idea they were in it! It just tasted like something I shouldn’t be eating because it was so delish!!

  3. I must admit that I can’t stand chick peas (garbanzo beans) but that dip was delish and I had no idea!!

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