Nutrition Articles

10 Tips to Keep from Overeating at a Party

Resist Temptation at Your Next Celebration

Temptations abound at parties, but celebration doesn't have to mean overindulgence. Follow these tips to stay on track.

Say no the first time to passed hors d'oeuvres. Chances are good that food will come around again. See what's being served before you decide what to eat.

Limit your alcohol. Inhibitions are lowered with every drink, and those cocktails aren't calorie free. Alternate alcohol with water or another calorie free drink. And don't combine alcohol with caffeine. Caffeine speeds up the rate at which alcohol is metabolized, and it masks the effect of the alcohol.

Eat before you go. Don't go to a party starving. Eat a hard-boiled egg and an apple, a banana with some peanut butter or a slice of turkey. The protein will fill you up for few calories. You'll be less likely to binge if you're not overly hungry.

Treat appetizers as a meal. If you're going to eat 400 calories worth of appetizers, know that that's your dinner. Don't expect to go home and eat a "real" meal.

Survey the spread before you fill your plate. Confronted by so many rich foods, you might want to start piling up the food, but stop and take a deep breath. Think before you serve yourself (and try to serve yourself, so you control the serving size).

Keep track of what you're eating. Don't mindlessly eat, and try not to eat and make conversation at the same time. If your eating and drinking is spread out, you might not realize how many calories you're eating. Just because you're not eating an entire meal doesn't mean that those are free calories.

Buddy up. If you're worried about eating too many sweets, share your dessert with someone else. You'll eat less and not do as much damage.

Use a smaller plate, or commit to just one round of food. Don't pile your food so high that's it's falling off the plate.

Be choosy, and stick to proper serving sizes. Take only those foods you really like, and don't overload on them.

Bring a dish, if appropriate. If you bring something healthy, like salsa with vegetables, whole-grain crackers and light dip or a large salad, you know there's at least one option for you at the party. Take small helpings of other dishes and load up on your healthier one.

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Member Comments

  • I generally don't get invited but that's just me
  • How about taking a picture of your plate so you can better track what you ate?
    Iím glad I just donít go to parties anymore this time of year, not worth the pressure.
  • I learned to socialize, not to focus on the food.
  • Good tips. I still struggle, but I try to implement one or two new tactics each time, so that it's an indulgence, but not a blow-out.
  • These are great tips, but most of us know all of this already. It's getting yourself to actually implement any of this in the first place that is the trick. It's hard to step back and take a deep breath when everyone else is in a feeding frenzy. It's hard to portion control anything at a party without being conspicuous and having to answer a bunch of embarrassing questions, unless you are extremely good at eye-balling portions. It's hard to keep track of what you are eating and not be distracted when you are surrounded by people. It's nearly impossible not to have to converse with people at a party; are you to hide in a corner all night? Why go at all at this point?
  • Benefit #3,325 of being anti-social: no worries about binging at parties.
    As someone who suffers from BED (Binge Eating Disorder) I get worried when the term BINGE gets overused and applied to any situation where overeating may occur. Eating a few hundred extra calories or even a thousand extra calories is NOT a binge. Eating thousands of extra calories in a short period of time until you feel physically sick and disgusted is closer to what a real binge is than what is described in the article.
  • Small plate and head for the shrimp - it's low in fat and raw veggies. Raw veggie crunch is much better than chips.
  • I started to eating out a small plate. But if I don't fix dinner they will give me a big plate.
    For me, I have to decide if the party is worth it. I really don't enjoy large gatherings at all. Since I'm so anxious I know I will inevitably overeat or be so on guard with food and whatnot that it makes it even worse. I've just learned how to handle it when I have to go that I don't track or keep up with what I'm doing or not. They aren't my favorite things but I've learned how to handle and minimize them.
  • Everyone says use a smaller plate. Last time I was at a party, I chose the larger plate. I put my veggies on it, took a tablespoon of the dip, added a couple of other healthy appetizers and that was all I ate. I didn't have to remember how many plates I had. I could spread all the food out, so I could see exactly what I was eating and I was satisfied and didn't feel deprived.

    I wonder if you'll get a reply to this, because I'd be interested in the suggestion offered.

    It could be (I don't know--I don't know if this will work for you) that the answer that might work for you *is* in the article. What if you brought a dip that you particularly liked? That way at least you'd know what was in it, and just how bad the damage might be if the willpower generator just completely craps out on you. You could plan for a "worst case scenario", and adjust your fats (the real problem in most dips) that day, and plan for a little less fat the next day also, plus a little more exercise.

    Or, are there any lighter versions of the dips you particularly like that you could prepare?

    So I guess that's the same as "taking the calorie hit", as you mentioned, but I bet there are times and situations where we all end up doing that. There may not be a way to avoid it. Then I guess we just gotta pay for it.

About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.