A Very Restricted Dinner Party

Imagine you're planning a dinner party. One of the guests responds yes, but offers to leave before the meal is actually served because she has just started an extremely limited diet and doesn't want to be a bother. She emphasizes that it is VERY limited and no one else would enjoy the meal if they had to eat only what she can eat. What would you say? Offer to make something different for her? Suggest she bring her own food and stay through dinner? Thank her for offering not to ruin everyone else's meal and let her leave early?

If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE a cooking challenge. I insisted she tell me exactly what she could eat and told her to plan to stay through the meal.


  • No fat or oil, including cooking spray or anything to grease a pan
  • No added sugar, honey, molasses or other sweetener except stevia 
  • No dairy of any kind
  • No nuts or grains of any sort
  • No potatoes, root vegetables, or broccoli
  • No alcohol, soda, coffee, or juice


  • 3 oz. of one lean protein (cannot combine two proteins)
  • 1 vegetable from a limited list (cannot combine vegetables or serve two in a meal)
  • 1 small piece of fruit from a limited list (cannot combine fruits or serve two in a meal)
  • salt, pepper and some seasonings 
  • vinegar
  • the juice of one lemon or lime squeezed over something
  • tea

I started brainstorming. My goal was to make something that everyone would enjoy and that would not feel like we were being deprived. Seeing as how I could (and practically do) live on bread and cheese and sugar, it wasn't easy! I should add that it was a very hot day, so my go-to of soup wouldn't have been a great choice.

Here's what I served:

  • 3 oz. of boneless, skinless chicken breast, rubbed with dijon mustard and sprinkled with lemon pepper and then baked
  • steamed green beans
  • a small dish of strawberries, heated in a little water and then mashed like applesauce
  • reduced balsamic vinegar (intended for the beans, but actually delicious with the chicken and with the strawberries
  • Wild Berry Zinger herbal ice tea (no sweetener)

It definitely felt weird not serving bread, pasta, potatoes or rice. In retrospect, I should have plated the food differently because there was a big empty space on the plate that is exactly where I would have put a starch. But other than that, the meal was very satisfying! I definitely felt like I met the challenge, which was undoubtedly one of the toughest I've ever done. I can't imagine cooking this way for more than one or two days in a row. Hats off to those who prepare very restricted meals on a regular basis. It isn't easy!


  1. Kudos to you!! I have been watching my calories ... but wow ... that's really strict!!!!!

  2. You could add rice? Or Quinoa?
    But you did great with what you came up with. And kudos to you for making the effort. You are a great friend!


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