posted December 27, 2022

Navigating Dinner Parties, Happy Hours, and Holiday Festivities While Plant-Based and Health-Focused

I don’t like to deprive myself. No one does. It’s hard to resist when there’s a feast of delicious food, drinks are flowing, and you want to let loose without a care in the world.

We also don’t want to be “that guest,” the one who’s difficult and asks a million questions. BUT we also don’t want to starve or eat junk and wake up with regret.

So, what do we do? Is it even possible to have fun while eating healthy, plant-based meals that are filling and delicious?

Of course! Here are some tips and tricks on how I socially eat and drink what I want and still feel good about myself in the morning (for my complete list, click here).

The Pre-Game

Eat Breakfast and Lunch

Don’t go to parties hungry. Make sure your meals have starchy and non-starchy veggies, whole grains, protein-rich foods, and healthy fats.

Photo credit: Jaclyn Rosen

Staying satiated will prevent binging on foods/drinks you don’t really want.

Work Out Before You Go

Lift weights, run sprints, or even go for a walk. Just be sure to move your body. Ideally, aim for at least 20-30 minutes of activity.

Drink Plenty of Water

Stay hydrated. This is important if you plan on having cocktails and eating salty foods.

Reach Out to the Host/Hostess

Tell them you’d love to bring a plant-based dish, and ask if there’s something they’d prefer. This is a subtle way to remind them that you’re plant-based. And it’s nice to bring something.

Bring Your Drink of Choice

Consider an organic sulfite-free wine or a clear liquor. Or bring a non-alcoholic drink without massive sugar content, such as club soda with a splash of pineapple juice.

Check the Menu Ahead of Time

If you’re going to a restaurant, determine what your plant-based options are. If there aren’t any plant-based mains, then decide what meal you’ll build from the sides menu.

The Party

Take a Lap Before You Commit

If it’s hard for you to resist snacking, then don’t hang out by the food table.

If You’re Hungry, Grab Food and Sit in Another Room

Fill your plate with veggies and fruits first. Look for crudités, fruit plates, and bean dishes.

Feed Your Carb Fix

Aim for potatoes, whole-grain anything, corn tortillas, or rice.

Skip Dishes You Aren’t Sure About

Or simply ask the host/hostess. It’s easy to determine if there’s meat or cheese in a dish, but it’s hard to tell if butter, eggs, or milk are in there somewhere.

Photo credit: Jaclyn Rosen. (No, you won’t be a pain for asking.)

Drink Water Between Cocktails and Snacks

It’s easy to mindlessly drink and eat at social events, so take a water break. And stand up and go for a walk, even if it’s to the bathroom.

Instead of Meat, Add Grilled Tofu/Veggies or Beans

If you’re at a restaurant, you have more control over your food than if you’re a guest on someone’s home, making it easy add avocado or olive oil instead of cheese. You can also healthify a dish by asking for dressing on the side, no oil, and grilled veggies instead of fried.

Stop Eating Once You’re Satisfied

I love dessert! I don’t avoid it unless it contains milk or butter. Stay mindful of when you’re satisfied. It also helps to share dessert with someone.

The After-Party

Drink a Big Glass of Water Before Going to Bed

Photo credit: Violeta Meyners

And aim for eight hours of sleep.

Get Back Into a Healthy Routine the Next Morning

Water, smoothie, stretching, walking — whatever comprises your healthful routine doesn’t get a holiday break. This is a crucial time because if you feel like you went off the rails last night you may feel compelled to continue the wild ride. Resist that.

Move Forward and Do Better Today

If you slipped up, i.e., you drank a bottle of wine and/or you ate everything in sight, don’t be hard on yourself: simply move forward and do better today. Remember that perfection doesn’t exist and deprivation is torture.

Get Right Back on Track

Be sure to eat lots of whole plants, drink water with lemon, and get your body moving again. Then go to bed early, again aiming for those eight hours of sleep.

A plant-based and health-conscious lifestyle takes practice. Focus on balance and consistency. These  are the keys to freedom.

Remember, a Vegan brownie or an extra glass of wine is fine — ’tis the season, after all. Just make the next decision a healthier one.

Cheers to life without deprivation or morning-after regret.

Photo credit: Violeta Meyners

Jaclyn Rosen, aka ‘Jax,’ is a plant-based nutrition and lifestyle coach. She helps people eat more plants and create healthier habits to gain more energy and fit comfortably in their jeans without feeling restricted. Jax is a science teacher turned plant-based nutrition coach. She has a VLCE certification through Main Street Vegan Academy, a Plant-Based Nutrition Certification through T. Colin Campbell’s eCornell program, and a Certified Holistic Nutritionist through AFPA. Currently, she’s in a Clinical Nutrition Master’s Program at the University of Bridgeport.

Jax has experienced incredible benefits of living a plant-based lifestyle. She empowers her clients with her wealth of knowledge to live a life they’re excited about, full of great health, happiness, freedom, and delicious food. She believes that every time we eat, we make a choice and to live a truly happy and healthy life, and to live it plant-based. Find Jax at, Instagram, and TikTok.



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