Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
‘Tis the season! I attended my very first holiday party of the year Saturday night. If you’ve also RSVPed to one or many invitations, don’t worry. With a few savvy tricks up your sleeve, you can get through any get-together without feeling like you’re heading home with a little extra padding. Here’s how:
-Don’t go hungry. It’s tempting to undereat during the day so you can splurge at the party, but this strategy nearly always backfires. You’ll probably overeat at the party and end up taking in far more calories than you can burn off. Instead, aim for a balanced breakfast and lunch, and a light snack an hour before the party.
-Don't drink your calories. Limit the number of cocktails you have to one per get-together if possible. Choose either one 12-ounce light beer, 5 ounces of red or white wine, or a shot of distilled spirits with a calorie free or low cal mixer. Each provides about 100 calories (avoid mixers like sweet and sour or daiquiri mix, half and half, or soda which can add up to 500 calories per drink). After one drink, switch to water or decaf hot or iced tea. Alcohol is an appetite stimulant, and it also lowers your inhibitions, so you’ll be more likely to dive into in foods you wouldn’t indulge in if you were sober!
-Don’t stand near the buffet. Studies show that you’re more apt to eat food if it’s at your finger tips. Seeing or smelling food, or watching others indulge can trigger you to start in and lose track of how much you eat. Find a quiet space away from the buffet and keep the focus on visiting with friends and celebrating the season.
-Bring a “safety” dish. Bringing an appetizer of your own can help you stay away from “high risk” foods you’d like to avoid (or eat in moderation). Bring a veggie tray with hummus for dipping, fresh fruit skewers, or popcorn so you won’t be tempted by chips and dip or cheese and crackers.
-Use the buddy system. Ask a health conscious friend or family member to be your buddy for the evening. You can sit/stand together for support, and keep each other occupied with non-food entertainment!
Photo courtesy of National Cancer Institute