Don't blame your maid of honor. She loves you and wants you to have an incredible, memorable bridal shower. Unfortunately, she's also unconsciously attempting to derail your diet by packing the event full of petite little savories that make for some surprisingly hefty bites.
You might not think that eating a small sandwich or having a few drinks with friends could ruin weeks' worth of wedding weight-loss work, but the tapas-style cuisine at most bridal bashes is extremely high in both fat and calories.
But don't go swearing off shower cuisine altogether -- we're going to help you avoid any diet disasters by identifying 10 corpulence-inducing culprits that may be lurking on the buffet table. We'll even give you a few tips to make some of these dishes more diet-friendly. If you've got a proper shower hostess, she'll ask for your input on the menu, or she may review her selections with you. This is the time to cast a friendly but critical eye on the offerings.
Check out the next page to learn why vegetables may be the most fattening finger food you pick up at your bridal shower.
10: Veggie Dip
You might assume that munching on veggies is healthy -- and it is, especially if they're raw -- but dip those crunchy greens into a bowl of ranch dressing, spinach dip or almost any other creamy spread, and you're turning those natural, healthy snacks turn into fatty, calorie-filled waistline extenders.
If you'd rather not blow your diet on something as lame and unsuspecting as vegetables, try dipping your greens in cottage cheese or a cup (not a bowl) of light ranch dressing.
9: Chicken Salad
We know, chicken is the dieter's meat of choice, and salads are the stuff weight-loss success stories are made of. But combine the two -- if in name only -- and you usually end up with a diet-busting concoction mayo-soaked meat with fatty (but tasty) extras.
The poached chicken by itself is fine, but stir in full-fat mayonnaise, walnuts and raisins, and you can easily end up consuming a full day's fat intake with a few bites of this innocuous-looking treat. If you want to keep it healthy, when the shower hostess reviews the menu with you, ask if she'll make the chicken salad with low-fat mayo or even plain, nonfat yogurt.
8: Mini Croissant Sandwiches
Mmm. Who doesn't love the tasty mini-croissant sandwiches that come standard at bridal showers?
You don't, unless you'd like to buy a bigger wedding dress.
Croissants are made from butter, flour, butter, salt, butter and water. Oh, and then they're sliced and slathered with butter before the meat and cheese are piled on top. We'd advise you to just pick out the fillings and dump the bread in the trash, but since anything that comes in contact with the golden crescents will undoubtedly be covered in -- you guessed it -- butter, just keep your distance if you want to make it to your wedding with your waistline intact. A better bet? Mini sandwiches on rye squares or even whole-grain crackers.
Sure, the punch looks innocent enough in that pretty crystal bowl, maybe with a few slices of oranges and lemons floating in it. But ginger ale mixed with lemonade combined with sherbet is a ladylike calorie bomb.
Where do we start here? First of all, sodas are never a good idea for anyone trying to improve her figure (yes, ginger ale is a soda), and lemonade is a no-no because it's basically just sugar water flavored with lemon juice. Oh, and do you know what the difference is between ice cream -- one of the fattiest foods on the planet -- and sherbet? Not much.
Our advice: Ask for a glass of iced water, and garnish it with some sliced citrus from the punch bowl.
Unfortunately, the punch itself isn't the only drink you should be leery of at your bridal shower.
Mimosas aren't as fattening as punch, so knocking back a few with your girlfriends probably won't completely derail your diet, but you still need to be careful. The calories in champagne and orange juice add up, but more importantly, the alcohol can lower your inhibitions, making those buttery croissant sandwiches look sooo tasty.
If you'd like to enjoy a few mimosas without losing the ability to control yourself, after one classic glass of the good stuff, ask to swap the champagne with sparkling water. The drink won't pack the same punch, but you're sure to leave the party with your diet integrity intact.
5: Egg Rolls
They're light, crispy and filled with vegetables and shrimp. Unfortunately, they're also fried. We don't know what else to say about this one. Anything that comes from a pot of boiling grease should be avoided, no matter how many veggies or delicious, low-cal crustaceans are in it. Lower-cal alternatives in the same cuisine ZIP code include vegetarian potstickers and Asian lettuce roll-ups.
4: Mini Quiches
Quiches are a favorite with ladies who lunch everywhere. And in miniature form, they're a huge hit at most bridal showers. This isn't surprising, considering they're a baked conglomeration of eggs, heavy cream and cheese. You already know all these ingredients will just make slipping into your wedding dress more difficult, and we haven't even gotten into the ample amounts of bacon, sausage or other fat-filled meats that are commonly added to these delicacies. Do yourself a favor and say "I don't" instead of "I do" when asked if you'd like one of these highly choleric and fattening treats. If yours is a bridal brunch and the hostess has her heart set on serving quiche, tell her that frittata is the chic way to go. You'll save face and calories.
3: Jalapeno Poppers
Jalapeno poppers are always popular with brides who don't mind adding a little zest to their bash, but peppers paired with sour cream and cheese, then breaded and deep-fried, are more fattening than spicy. If you want to add some heat to your shower without all those extra calories, bake -- never fry -- and use light, low-fat regular cheese (cheddar and mozzarella both work well).
2: Pigs in a Blanket
These little piggies may be party clichés, but just because they've made an appearance at every get-together you've ever attended doesn't mean they should get VIP treatment at your bridal shower.
If you've been snoozing since the 1970s, when pigs in a blanket first appeared on the party scene, let us tell you about these little piggies. They're mini hot dogs or cocktail franks wrapped in cheese and stuffed inside a buttermilk biscuit or rolled into a crescent roll -- not exactly nutritious diet food.
Yes, they're small, but, like the croissant sandwiches we've already discussed, they're an extremely high-calorie, high-fat snack that you should avoid at all costs.
In lieu of this party staple, opt for the ever-sophisticated prosciutto-wrapped melon. Or, in a pinch, grab just one and shuck the dough and cheese before popping just the pig into your mouth.
1: Petit Fours
Petit fours are scrumptious little cakes that are often served at bridal showers. They look like itty-bitty wedding cakes but still have the same fat and calories per bite as any other baked and frosted confection. Yes, you'll be eating cake at your wedding, but save it for the big day and let your girlfriends dine on those little delicacies at your bridal shower. After all, all eyes will be on you, not them, when it comes time to say "I do." If you must have something sweet to cap off the celebration, there's nothing wrong with an angelic slice of angel food cake with fresh berries -- it's probably the lightest bite in the dessert world.
Lots More Information
- 10 Best Dieting Tips for Brides
- Buff for the Big Day: 10 Best Exercises for Brides
- 10 Tips and Tricks for Avoiding Newlywed Weight Gain
- 10 Slimming Snacks and Meals for Your Wedding Diet
- 5 Tips for Relieving Wedding Stress
- How much weight is safe (and realistic) to lose before your wedding?
- Mirriam-Webster. "Petits fours." 2010. (Oct. 24, 2010).http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petits%20fours
- The Nibble. "Cheese Quiche Recipe." 2010. (Oct. 24, 2010).http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cheese/cheese2/cheese-quiche-recipe.asp