The Energy Chef: Tips For a Lighter Girls' Night

What is it about 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. I asked the ladies -- my clients, my wife, all my female friends. The answers were the same: Girls just want to have fun, with great food, great drinks and great friends. Luckily, you can do all that without going overboard -- here are my tips to avoid overindulging.

Beef Pops with Pineapple and Parsley Sauce; Giada De Laurentiis

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

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:

To Drink

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:

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.

You Might Also Like:

Keep Reading

Next Up

The Energy Chef: Game-Time Snacks

Football season is under way, and most of us love to sit around and watch our favorite team play. We love eat to eat salty snacks such as chips, pizza, popcorn -- you get the picture. Let’s play with these favorites to avoid getting tackled by empty and high-caloric, fatty snacks.

The Energy Chef: Tailgate Favorites, Made Healthy

Who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned tailgate party? There's football, there's friends and of course, food. Typical football party foods can be super-high in fat and calories, but my lighter burgers and potato salad have all the classic flavor, without the guilt.

Katie's Healthy Bites: 6 Energy-Saving Kitchen Tips

It's almost Earth Day! We all know how important it is to use as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible, but have you thought about using energy-saving cooking techniques? Here are 6 easy ways to use less energy and resources in the kitchen.

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.