Your engagement is such a social time— drinks with friends, engagement parties, tastings, and rehearsals. These strategies will help you navigate the buffet tables and bars without your dream dress fitting any differently.
1. Pregame before the party.
"Before you head to a cocktail and appetizer party, make yourself a small meal of protein and veggies to eat at home," suggests Carlene Thomas, RDN, author of The Wedding Wellness Workbook: Your Nutrition How-To Before "I Do." "You know there will be lots of starchy options being passed around when you get there!"
2. Wear bright lipstick.
"This sounds so weird, but I find that wearing lipstick makes me more aware of what and when I eat, since I don't want to smear it!" says Thomas. "When I'm wearing no lipstick I have nothing to be a barrier for mindless eating if there's a bowl of chips next to me."
3. Stick to bubbly.
Prosecco, champagne and other brut wines are lower in sugar and calories than other wines or mixed drinks, says registered dietitian Kate Scarlata, RDN, co-author of The 21-Day Tummy. Stay away from frozen or tropical-y drinks like mudslides, piña coladas, and daiquiris— they're packed with extra sugar (and therefore, calories). If you're not a fan of bubbly, "try a single shot of your favorite liquor with seltzer water (zero calories) and a squeeze of citrus or a sprig of rosemary or mint," suggests Thomas. If you're really focused on slimming down, stick to sipping seltzer with a lemon wedge. It tastes good and gives you something to do with your hands, without a hangover or the calories in booze.
4. Grab a small plate.
"Using a small plate and filling it just once is a good strategy," says Scarlata. Letting yourself have a full plate of nibbles (instead of trying not to snack at all, or going back to the table to pick at things over and over) will leave you satisfied, but not overfull.
5. Fill up on veggies.
Hit the crudité and fruit platter first. The more you fill up on fiber-rich carrots and celery (only 25 calories per cup), the less room there is for less-healthy finger foods like creamy dips and chips. "For a smart party plate, aim to make half your plate produce and half your plate lean protein," says Thomas.
6. Pick one: Drink or Dessert?
"If you're dining out frequently or attending a slew of parties, pick a cocktail or dessert to have that evening, not both," says Thomas. "If you're loving the champagne, say no thanks when dessert rolls out. Or if you're feeling dehydrated that day, stick with water with lemon and split a piece of cake with the husband-to-be."
7. Chat it up!
"Switch the focus of the food to the social aspects of the party. Try to spend more time talking than eating!" says Scarlata.