Savvy Eating At Holiday Parties

Friday, December 15, 2006 - 9:09am

By Allison Stevens, MS, RD

'Tis the season for holiday parties…and food! During the coming month, we’ll all be fighting temptations like raspberry-chocolate cheesecakes, miniature puff pastries, creamy eggnogs…. (Yum!)

This time of year can be stressful enough without the added worry about gaining weight. However, denying yourself food at holiday gatherings is not the key to success. Rather, it’s important to make healthful choices. In this way, you’ll survive (and enjoy) the holiday season for each of its pleasures.

Here are some tips to enable you to indulge in delicious treats without ruining your diet.

1.   Drink water to avoid overeating

To make it through any holiday party you must drink water. Even if you drink alcoholic beverages, you really should stay hydrated by alternating your beverages with water. This means drinking one glass of water for every glass of alcohol you consume. One of the great things about this practice is that drinking water decreases your chances of overeating.

2.   Choose shrimp cocktail as a low-carlorie appetizer

Resist eating deep-fried appetizers. Instead, grab some low-cal shrimp cocktail; one shrimp has less than 10 calories! And don’t forget the cocktail sauce. It’s a much better choice than many other dips, which are often full of fat.

3.   Sweet tooth? Trying eating fruit

Avoid fat-laden desserts and satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit.

4.   Skip eggnog; drink wine

Remember that alcohol decreases inhibitions, which increases the likelihood you’ll overindulge in food. If you do imbibe, however, choose wine over high-fat eggnog. In this way, you’ll significantly reduce your calorie intake. To decrease calories further, mix half glass of wine with half a glass of carbonated water for a low-cal wine spritzer.

5.   Choose dark chocolate over milk/white chocolate

If you crave chocolate, make sure it’s dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is so rich and intense that it only takes a small square to provide real satisfaction.

6.   Fill up on crudités

All crudités (carrots, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, radishes, etc.) are naturally low in calories and high in nutrition, making them one of the best choices. Just beware of creamy dips; choose healthful hummus instead.

7.   Indulge in one really decadent treat!

Don’t spend all your time trying to resist the one treat you’re really craving (e.g. fried cheese sticks, a double fudge brownie, etc.). Instead, allow yourself to eat the biggest temptation without guilt. Just make sure to take a small portion and eat slowly so that you savor every bite.

Remember that holiday parties are meant to be a time to socialize with friends and family and enjoy yourself. Although food usually takes center stage at any party, if you make smart choices you’ll leave every party guilt-free and satisfied!

For further tips on eating sensibly during the holidays to avoid weight gain see the following article from TheDietChannel: Holiday Eating: How To Avoid Gaining Weight during the Holidays, 10 High Calorie Holiday Foods to Watch Out For, 10 Tips for Preventing Holiday Weight Gain10 Ways to Prevent Thanksgiving Weight Gain and Holiday Parties: How to control eating?