At social gatherings that revolve around food and where multiple dishes are served, it is too tempting to try a little bit of everything. However, this can easily lead to overeating and forgetting mindful eating principles. Follow these tips to ensure you stay on track with your health goals!

  • When loading up your plate, try to model The Balanced Plate: ¼ plate lean protein, ¼ plate starch/whole grains, ½ plate non-starchy vegetables
  • If there are appetizers before the main meal, stick to veggies and 1-2 tbsp of dip (if offered). If you eat a lot of appetizers, take a smaller portion of the main meal
  • When marinating meat, try a homemade recipe using oils, vinegars, fresh/dried herbs and spices, lemon juice, or Greek yogurt. Store-bought sauces are high in sugar and sodium
  • If you are attending a potluck, contribute a healthy option, such as: green salad, grain salad (quinoa, barley, brown rice), vegetable skewers, chicken breasts, hummus, guacamole, mango salsa, fish, shrimp, oven baked potatoes, or fruit salad
  • Limit dishes that are creamy, fried, cheesy, salty, and buttery. Choose dishes that are fresh, grilled, baked, and seasoned with herbs
  • For dessert, have mostly fruit plus 1 small treat, e.g. 1 scoop of ice cream, 1 small cookie, 1 block of chocolate, or 1 thin slice of cake
  • Instead of trying to fit every item onto your plate, bring a few Ziploc containers to take home food you didn’t get to try
  • Engage in conversation while eating. This will allow you to eat slower and listen to fullness cues

Dietary restrictions

At large parties, it is likely that a few guests will have a dietary restriction, for health, ethical, or personal reasons. Here are some options that are suitable for restrictive eaters/specific dietary patterns:

  • Gluten-free grains: quinoa, rice, buckwheat, flax, corn, flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean), millet, certified oats
  • Vegan: fruit, vegetables, legumes, tofu, tempeh, soy, nuts, dairy-free milks (soy, nut, rice, coconut)
  • Egg-free baked goods: mashed banana, applesauce, flax egg, silken tofu, baking soda + vinegar


There’s nothing like a cold beer on the dock by the lake, or sharing a pitcher of sangria on a patio, but remember that alcohol contains a lot of empty calories.

What is considered 1 drink? (Source:

  • Regular beer, 5% alcohol: 341 mL (12 oz)
  • Wine, 12% alcohol: 145 mL (5 oz)
  • Fortified wine such as sherry, port or vermouth, 16-18% alcohol: 85 mL (3 oz)
  • Spirits or liquor such as rum or vodka, 40% alcohol: 45 mL (1.5 oz)
Drink Approximate Calories
Light beer (4% alcohol), 1 bottle or 12 oz 99
Regular beer (5% alcohol), 1 bottle or 12 oz 140
Non-alcoholic beer (0.5% alcohol), 1 can or 350 mL 210
Daiquiri, 7 oz 260
Pina Colada, 4.5 oz 245
Vodka, 1.5 oz 100
Wine (11.5% alcohol), 5 oz 100


How to cut the calories:

  • Limit pre-blended frozen drinks (e.g. daiquiri, pina colada, margarita), as these are high in sugar and cream
  • Mix drinks with diet soda, tonic water, or 100% real fruit juice
  • Limit drinks with added syrups or liqueurs
  • Flavour drinks with fruit or fresh herbs
  • Try: mix ½ light beer with ½ diet Gingerale; margarita using frozen strawberries

Alcohol is dehydrating, so it is especially important to drink plenty of water!