What is it about a girls’ night out that’s different from any other event? I’ve done my share of dinner parties where ladies love to eat, drink and be merry, but I still needed to do a little research on my own. So, I asked the ladies in my life: my wife, my clients and my female friends. The answers were the same: Girls just want to have fun, with great food and great drinks (and of course, great company). Luckily, you can do all that without going overboard. Here are my tips to avoid overindulging.
What To Order
It’s easy to have a girls’ night with little or no guilt. When you go to your favorite restaurant, go for the appetizer menu or tapas bar where you can have lots of variety in smaller portions. If you’re anything like my daughter and me, we love fried calamari. If you can’t live without your favorite fried foods, just order one portion per about 8 people. Then, divide and conquer!
For an at-home girls’ night, try these small bites:
- Arugula, Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza Bites
- Beef Pops With Pineapple-Parsley Sauce
- Italian-Style Sausage Skewers
- Pesto-Bean Dip
- Chocolate-Orange Butter-Flavored Popcorn
When it comes to beverages, the calories can add up quickly. If you’re a wine drinker, try a white wine spritzer. Mixing wine with sparkling water cuts the calories in half. Add lemon or orange zest or herbs for a low-cal punch of flavor. When I mentioned this to one of my clients, she said “You can stick that white wine spritzer where the sun don’t shine, I’m ordering a real glass of wine!” For purists like her, keep portions of red and white wine to one 5-ounce glass.
Cocktail calories can get out of control, too, so portion control is key. If you’re dining out, order the smallest size available and look for cocktails with 100-percent juices or sparkling water rather than sugary mixes. If it’s ladies night in, serve everyone about 8 ounces of whatever you’re mixing up.
If you’re gonna grab a cold one, go for the lighter varieties with around 100 calories per 12 ounce bottle or can. And again, stick to suggested portion sizes — 12 ounces a day for women.
More Lower-Cal Drink Ideas:
- Lightened-Up Pina Coladas
- Sip Wisely: Tips For Smarter Alcohol Picks
- Margaritas Made Better
- Easy White Wine Cocktails
Having your special night can be full of delicious fun while still keeping that girlish figure — practice my tips and see for yourself. A girls night out doesn’t have to be full of regret the next morning. ( Well, at least not from a food perspective!)
Next Food Network Star season 6 finalist Herb Mesa is a restaurant-trained chef, a self-taught healthy cuisine chef and a certified personal trainer. Herb teaches “balance through food and fitness,” and works as a personal chef and trainer in Atlanta.