You are planning an elegant dinner party, with delicious food and drinks. But you know that two or three of the guests you really want around your table are trying to shed a few pounds.
Can you invite them with a clear conscience – without feeling you are “sabotaging” their dieting efforts? At the same time, can you mix them with guests who are not concerned about their weight?
The answer is a resounding yes - as long as you take five simple steps.
The five steps are all designed to give your diet-conscious guests inviting-looking choices they can enjoy without risking their diet. All of them have the bonus advantage that they are inviting-looking for your non-dieting guests as well.
1. Have a jug of sparkling water available for pre-dinner drinks. Garnish it with a lemon or lime so it looks special, and be sure to serve it in lovely glasses. Your dieting friends will be happy to be drinking their sparkling water while others drink wine.
The trick is in the visuals. The sparkling jug garnished with lemon or lime will look like a “designer drink” so diet-conscious guests don’t feel deprived drinking it.
2. Let the eyes of your dieting guests fall immediately on a safe appetizer choice for them. Position a low fat appetizer front and center of any other appetizer choices.
A beautiful tray of crisp raw vegetables or a tempting shrimp ring fills this bill very nicely. If guests can reach for attractive looking low fat appetizers, they won’t feel so tempted to reach for the more calorie-laden choices.
Now you’ve gotten your guests safely to the table without them breaking their diet resolutions. Keep on offering choices that minimize any sense of deprivation.
3. Choose a main dish that relies on savory herbs for its attraction. Don’t choose a dish that relies on a heavy sauce or gravy.
Steak is a dish that most people can eat happily without loading it with calorie-laden sauces. Roast or grilled chicken is another such choice. A piece of chicken flavored with rosemary or your herbs of choice smells good, looks good and tastes delicious.
Just don’t include a large bowl of stuffing on the side, that’s a highly tempting item most of us would have trouble refusing!
4. Include a pureed squash, sweet potato or turnip dish along with your vegetables and salad. Most green vegetables and salad are no problem for most dieters. Diet-conscious guests can also choose your pureed dishes instead of white potatoes or rice. These dishes fill the plate the same way that potatoes and rice do. And they have the same consistency as fluffy mashed potatoes. (The Atkins diet even recommends pureed cauliflower.) Diet-conscious guests can decline potatoes or rice knowing they will still have filling side dishes.
In other words, your diet-conscious guests don’t need to feel deprived because they still have the volume and texture of mashed potatoes in their vegetable purees.
5. Fresh fruit with chocolate bonbons is a great end to the meal. Your guests can eat the fruit without worrying about calories. And since they have been so diet-conscious throughout the evening, they can treat themselves to a piece or two of chocolate candy.
If you were to offer a chocolate cake they might not be able to resist a piece. But there is a huge difference between a small piece of chocolate candy and a serving of cake and icing. So let them choose just a taste of chocolate instead of tempting them with a large serving.
Now ask yourself – will your diet-conscious guests feel deprived if they are served this kind of menu?
- “Designer” garnished sparkling water to drink with appetizers
- Appetizers of fresh vegetable tray and/or shrimp cocktail with lemon garnish
- Savory herbed roast chicken or grilled steak
- Squash puree
- As many vegetable and salad dishes as you wish
- Fruit with chocolate bonbons
I think you know the answer. Of course your guests won’t feel deprived.
Far from feeling deprived, your diet-conscious guests will probably heartily enjoy your meal. And they will appreciate your thoughtful provision of diet-conscious but delicious choices that still allow them to stick to their diet resolutions.
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