The holidays can pose a great risk to even the healthiest eating plans. On average, Americans gain about a pound at holiday time, which may not seem like a lot, but it can stay with you. Over time, those lbs add up! Here are a few tips to help you out whether you are a host or guest of holiday parties:
Don’t party on an empty stomach.
Rather than “saving up” for a big party meal, arrive with some food in your belly. Enjoy a small snack of nuts, string cheese or a Greek Yogurt before you leave. This will help you tame your appetite so you can focus on the treats you really want.
Offer a signature drink with a small amount of alcohol and a lot of low- or no-calorie mixer.
Alcohol, the center of many a holiday party, can derail your guests’ efforts to stay healthy. Not only is it packed with empty calories, it can also lower their control, increasing the chances they ditch their diet and overdo it at the buffet table. Mix up some wine with club soda or diet citrus soda, add a splash of low-cal juice (think cranberry), and a pretty piece of fruit, like a raspberry. Give it a festive name, and it’s a win for you and your guests.
Skip the chips, scale back the dips.
Make vegetables — not chips — the center of your table by cutting them into fun shapes or offering them on skewers. Not only will the water content of the veggies start to make guests feel full, all that chewing will slow them down. Just make sure you don’t derail healthy effects of eating veggies by providing high-fat, high-calorie dips for appetizers.
Be last in line.
That spread of food looks great when you’re the first one to it. But after a lot of people have gone through, the food doesn’t look quite as appealing. Wait it out.
Avoid late-party munchies and leftovers.
Your hosts may want to get rid of those sausage balls and cheese plates, but you don’t have to eat them— especially if you’ve already had your fill. And if they offer a to-go plate, politely decline. Enjoy yourself at the party, within reason, without taking the party home with you.
The holidays are a great time for celebrating with friends and family over food and drinks. With just a little preparation, you can keep off the extra holiday pounds and still enjoy all that the season has to offer.