Navigating a Potluck While Sticking to Your Diet

Potlucks are a fun way to gather with friends and relatives or coworkers and religious groups to share a meal that everyone can contribute to! But if you’re trying to stick to a particular dietary pattern or have special dietary restrictions, potlucks can be anxiety-inducing.  Not to worry! By following a few easy tips and tricks, you’ll be navigating your next potluck with ease (once it’s COVID-19 safe to do so, of course).

The easiest way to navigate a potluck on a diet is to bring something you can eat!

Here are some flavorful (and diet-friendly) crowd-pleasing recipes to bring to your next potluck:

Mayo-free Potato Salad (dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, paleo, vegan)

Oven-Roasted Eggplant (dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, nut-free, low-carb, keto, low-cal, vegan)

Chicken Satay Skewers (dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, low-carb, keto)

Greek Salad (dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, low-carb, keto, vegan)

In a pinch? A veggie tray with hummus, guacamole, or homemade black bean dip is a great choice. If you have a little time to spare, you can impress the group with a homemade dip, which is always fresher and more flavorful than store bought! Here are some easy recipe ideas:

Loaded Greek Hummus Dip

Black Bean Dip


Hummus: 4 Variations

Now that we’ve covered what you can bring, what else should you look for?


Oftentimes main dishes at a potluck are drowning in cheese and inflammatory oils or are high in saturated fat. While those options are probably best to avoid, sometimes you’ll find shrimp cocktail, chicken skewers, or pulled chicken – all of which can provide you with some protein to fill your plate without straying too far from your typical habits.

Veggies and Fruit:

A sure fire way to stick to your diet at a potluck is to scan the food table for fresh options. There is bound to be a fruit or veggie tray/ dish or a salad to enjoy. Always be on the lookout for dishes that have fresh ingredients and that aren’t covered in thick sauces or cheese.

Is it okay to indulge in your favorite potluck treat

It’s probably in your best interest to stick to your diet if you: are following a very specific plan in preparation for an athletic pursuit, are following an elimination diet, or have a medical condition or allergy with specific dietary recommendations. If you’re simply trying to improve your health, lose weight, or transition to a healthier lifestyle, it’s totally acceptable to enjoy your favorite treats on occasion and in moderation. In order to avoid going overboard, try to fill up 80% of your plate with options that do fit your goals first and foremost, and then reserve that last 20% for a small treat or a dish you’re craving. This will allow you to stick to your goals without restricting yourself entirely, which can lead to more cravings and frustration in the long run!


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