The holidays are a great time for family and friends, but those rich holiday meals can wreak havoc on your waistline, and undo all the good that you did at the gym. For a healthy eater, it can turn a fun holiday party into a stress-fest. These tips will help you arm yourself with some strategies to keep those fatty foods off your hips.
Bring a Dish to Share
Call the host or hostess and offer to bring an appetizer or side to share. Keep it healthy, and you’ll have something to fill your tummy without maxing out your daily caloric intake. Bring veggies and hummus, a healthy salad (nix the cheese and croutons) or bruschetta on slices of whole wheat baguette. Shrimp cocktail is a substantial crowd-pleaser and only checks in at about 130 calories for 6 large shrimp and cocktail sauce.
Eat before You Go
Party food can be delicious, but the last thing you want to do is go to a party hungry. If the only options are fatty choices, you’ll eat them. Have a healthy snack or a light dinner that is low in fat, and contains some protein and carbs to keep you feeling full. Try yogurt with crunchy granola or other healthy and crunchy cereal, or 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with fruit. A 4 oz chicken breast and a small scoop of brown rice will keep you feeling satisfied as well. Then you can focus on one thing that you absolutely must have, like your mom’s cheesecake!
Strategic Plate Loading
Head into the kitchen and offer to help, then spend a few minutes checking out the food, and ask questions about the recipes to find out what is the healthiest. Then load up on the healthiest options, like salad with no dressing, or steamed vegetables. Try to only leave enough room on your plate for about a tablespoon of each of the not-so figure friendly choices. Now you’ve won points for being a gracious guest, and you’re keeping your waist happy.
If you get booted from the kitchen, check out the spread before you dish up the food. That way, you’ll see what tasty delights you want to be spending your calorie budget on, and you can plan to fill up your plate on healthier things. Otherwise, before you know it, your plate could be one whopping helping of fat and calories.
Sit next to someone who you haven’t seen in a while and chat it up! Put your fork down between bites and have a conversation, and you’ll take a while to eat. Since it takes about 20 minutes to feel full, you’ll likely feel satisfied before the meal is over, and will be too busy to go back for seconds.
Beware the Calorie Bombs
Sure, you’ve budgeted your meal, you’ve filled up on salad and veggies. Now don’t blow it on the unassuming calorie heavy hitters. Grab a bottle of champagne to bring to the party and sip that slowly, rather than margaritas, spiked eggnog or other calorie packed festive drinks. Even better, make like a waitress and refill others’ glasses as well. Now you’re social, you’re not sitting down, and you’re keeping yourself busy, instead of chugging drinks while standing by the food table.