The Dude Diet: Holiday Party Plan

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Happy Holidays from the Dude.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a rough week for The Dude Diet. Despite my best efforts, Logan remains committed to “going off the rails” until New Years. However, I have still managed to get him to eat a couple of healthy meals this week, and he’s gone to the gym twice, so I remain hopeful. Like anyone else, he has good days and bad days.

Last Thursday was one of those bad days. I knew it was going to be a tough one when Logan rushed out the door and yelled, “I drank an Emergen-C, so I’ve got all my fruits taken care of, and I’m gonna get something dirty for lunch! Love you!” He was gone before I could protest, probably skipping to the subway high on Vitamin C and the thought of having BBQ for lunch. I eventually explained to him that Emergen-C is a dietary supplement, and that “dietary supplement” does not mean “fruit and vegetable replacement” or “magical weight loss powder,” but I’m not sure he’s convinced.

That evening, Logan called to check in on his way to a dinner meeting. He reported that his day had gone well, and that he had “worked out like a maniac” that afternoon. Considering the fact that most of Logan’s workouts are of the executive variety (sauna, steam, shower), I was overwhelmed with pride. That was until he followed up with,  “Then I had a bacon cheeseburger!” When I casually asked why he would eat a bacon cheeseburger after a workout and before he went to dinner, he responded, “It’s not like I ate all of it. I left like two bites!” He then went on to explain that this was necessary because he was probably going to have a couple drinks before his dinner, and it was risky “to crush a bunch of c-tails on an empty stomach.” Logan is nothing if not responsible.

Yes, Thursday was upsetting, but what’s one bad day in the scheme of things? I’ve got bigger problems than a vitamin misconception and a post-workout cheeseburger. This week ushers in the first round of serious holiday parties, and we all know that means large quantities of cocktails and appetizers. I’m not so worried about Logan on the cocktail front. He’s usually drinking skinny bitches (vodka sodas) or lattes (Coors Light), so at least I know I’m not going to find him pounding a thousand calories worth of eggnog at any given party. It’s the appetizers that give me anxiety. Logan LOVES appetizers.

Logan at a cocktail party is truly a sight to behold. He lights up like a Christmas tree when he sees a server with something “dirty” on a tray. It is simultaneously terrifying and endearing to witness this level of excitement over finger food. Logan’s enthusiasm is most notably reflected in his objectively creepy interactions with the servers. Standard comments include, “Ohhhhhh yeah dude, bring those babies over here,” “Yeah man, hook me up!” and “Let me get in there!” Logan is also known to shamelessly chase down and/or follow servers with particularly enticing treats. I pity the poor, unsuspecting server with the pigs in a blanket tray. He’s always in for a tough night.

The need to develop a strategy for the holiday party season became abundantly clear at a cocktail party that Logan and I attended last month. The two of us separated at the beginning of the party because we are very independent, and because Logan was busy chasing the servers around and I couldn’t keep up with him in my heels. When we reconvened an hour later at the bar, he pulled a giant wad of cocktail napkins out of each of his pockets. Clearly he hadn’t been shy about “getting involved with the apps.” To be honest, the sheer volume of napkins was actually quite impressive.

The night of the “Napkin Incident.”

In my experience, Logan is not alone in his weakness for “money apps.” Dudes tend to have a harder time resisting the temptation of all those “dank snacks” being passed around than their female counterparts. Thanks to tight dresses and the fear of looking unattractive while eating mid-conversation, girls generally manage to eat fewer appetizers at parties.* Oddly, guys don’t seem to have a problem shoving food in their mouths while socializing. I’m actually jealous of this lack of inhibition, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for their holiday bodies.

Now, dudes, I’m not saying that you are forbidden to have any holiday party treats. The best part about The Dude Diet is that nothing is off limits. As always, I’m only asking that you be less of an idiot. Just because appetizers are small does not mean that you should eat an unlimited amount of them. You only ate three sliders? Congratulations! I hope you enjoyed eating a cheeseburger and a half as a light snack. What’s that? You ate ten pigs in a blanket because they are “bite-size”? Bad news, buddy, you just ate three sausages. Good luck not getting the meat sweats. Seriously, just be a little more mindful of your choices. If you must go wild, at least try some prosciutto and melon or maybe a shrimp cocktail. Please?

In addition to taking every opportunity to feed Logan healthy meals this week, I have come up with a strategy that I feel at least 50% confident will prevent holiday party bingeing.** This is simple: eat a small, healthy meal beforehand. Unleashing a hungry dude on a cocktail party is a recipe for disaster. I suggest something with protein and fiber like Chicken Paillard and Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables:

Your new secret weapon.

It’s nutritious, delicious, and it will keep you full without weighing you down. Eat this, and I guarantee that you’ll be able to resist chasing the servers at your next holiday party. This meal also makes an excellent Dude Diet lunch option, since it travels well and tastes just as good cold. And if you’re not into quinoa, chicken paillard can be eaten over a mixed green salad, with brown rice and vegetables, or in a sandwich. You’ve got so many “dirty” options here. Get after it.

*I am extrapolating from my own experience here. Girls, if you’re also worried about eating too many apps this holiday season, I suggest investing in some tighter dresses.

**Logan is very unpredictable.

Chicken Paillard: (Serves 4)

4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp red chili flakes
Fresh ground pepper


Preparing your chicken:

-Place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap (or inside a large ziploc bag) and pound with a heavy object (ie a rolling pin, wine bottle, or heavy salt container) until they are about ¼ inch in thick. This is fun and an excellent way to get out some pent up aggression.


-In a small bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, shallot, garlic, and chili flakes. Mix well. Pour the marinade into a quart sized ziploc bag and add the pounded chicken breasts. Make sure all the breasts are evenly coated. Refrigerate for 15 minutes (or more, if you have the time/patience) to marinate the chicken.


-Heat a grill pan (don’t worry, you can also use a regular pan). Remove chicken from the marinade and sprinkle both sides of the breasts with salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook the chicken for about two minutes on each side. How easy was that?


*Serve hot or cold over Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables: (Serves 4)

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
½ red onion, thickly sliced
½ large bell pepper
1 cup dark kidney beans
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Fresh ground pepper


Preparing your quinoa:

-Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

-Cook quinoa according to package directions.

-Place the broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, and bell peppers in a roasting pan or cast-iron skillet. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt, and fresh ground pepper. Toss to coat.


-Roast at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Turning vegetables every 10 minutes. When cooked, cut the onions and red peppers into bite size pieces. (The reason you don’t do this before roasting is that the onions and peppers cook quickly and would burn in smaller pieces. Okay?)


-In a small bowl, combine the garlic and lemon juice, and let sit for ten minutes for garlic to soften.

-Combine vegetables, beans, and quinoa. Add the garlic and lemon juice and mix well. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. This tastes delicious served warm or chilled!


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  1. Lauren Roffey on December 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Come on Logan, while I agree that it would have been a bad idea to drink on an empty stomach a) it is not an excuse for a bacon cheeseburger (heard of a banana?!) and b) you left two bites – come on, we all know that is just the remnants of the bun, not a huge loss 😉

    Good luck over the next few weeks Serena, the appetisers sound like they may prove to be a nightmare (and god knows what will happen when we venture into leftover territory).

    Once again the healthy meals sound great and so simple to whip up before going out. Nice.

  2. Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking on December 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I agree with your logic about dudes being more inclined to eat party apps. I think for my husband if he knows they are free, he is all about it. Thank God for spanx, otherwise I might eat a bit more at parties! I love quinoa, such an easy and healthy substitute for plain old rice.

  3. Anonymous on December 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    As a dude who could use your holiday diet, and who has a girlfriend that loves to blog, I salute your incredible posts and will at least be thinking twice before reaching for that third slider at the company holiday party next week.

    Keep up the great work!

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