For those looking to avoid weight gain, holiday party season is bearing down on us like this:
Never fear! Here are a few tricks to keep in your arsenal:
1. There’s no need to skip meals.
Skipping meals early in the day to make up for future holiday party indulgences is a misguided strategy. By starving yourself, not only are you slowing your metabolism, but you’re also ensuring that you’ll be ravenous when presented with a table full of temptation later in the day. This is actually a formula for maximizing weight gain, not minimizing it. Instead, it’s best to have light meals on the day of the big holiday bash. Start with a bowl of oatmeal topped with 7 or 8 walnuts in the morning, and stick to salads with a protein and lots of leafy greens, and/or brothy soups with lots of veggies for lunch.
Eggnog and other holiday cocktails may be seasonal favorites, but your waistline won’t like them very much. If you really must, allow yourself one serving of your favorite heavy cocktail, but come prepared with a lighter option, like dry sparkling wine with a splash of pomegranate juice, or vodka and zero calorie soda water with a lime wedge.
3. One for one.
Another sound holiday party strategy with regard to alcohol is to alternate alcoholic beverages with water. This greatly reduces the amount of alcohol calories you consume and has the added bonus of preventing the post-party hangover.
4. Bring the veggie platter.
Veggie platters are a no-brainer, but what usually gets overlooked is the high-calorie dips like ranch dressing. So, make your own platter with munchies like cherry tomatoes, celery, jicama, carrots, and pretty much any raw finger food friendly veggie you want. Then, make your own tzatziki dip: 1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 cup chopped and peeled cucumber, and a handfull of whatever fresh herbs you happen to have on hand (chopped mint or dill are great!).
5. Eat what you love.
It’s okay to have a little bit of those foods that aren’t good for you. A good strategy for holiday parties (and for life in general)? If you don’t love it, don’t eat it. If you love it, have a reasonable portion. Love cake? Cake pops are a fun new trend that portion out a bite or two of cake and frosting, so you get a good taste without overdoing it. There’s a cute festive snowman version on Taste of Home.
6. Use small plates.
Breaking out the salad plates goes a long way toward encouraging slower eating and smaller portion sizes. Of course, you can only employ this tactic if you…
7. Host the party.
Volunteer your home and your hospitality, and you get to make sure that there is a good variety of healthy items to choose from.