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Party right-focus on the frolic

While attending holiday gatherings, situate yourself so that you are NOT facing the food table. Make sure to relax and focus your attention on time and conversations with family and friends rather than how many calories are in that cheese ball.

After surveying the whole food situation, decide ahead of time which foods are worth eating and which ones you can skip without feeling deprived.

Use the smallest plate available and arrange your food attractively on it. Your portions will appear larger. If you always start with less than what you think you want to eat, you may be surprised at how little it takes to actually satisfy you.

Eat slowly (it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that its full). Drink a glass of water and wait at least 15 minutes before getting seconds. Sometimes a stick of sugar-free mint gum (or brushing your teeth) can help you avoid an additional trip to the food table.

Eat your calories-don’t drink them. Stick to water, sparkling water, diet soda, light beer and wine spritzers instead of punches, eggnog, and mixed drinks that can have 500 calories a serving! Make sure to drink a full glass of water between alcoholic beverages.

To save calories, load up on high fiber veggies…and steer clear of dishes/dips with mayo, sour cream, and cream fillings as well as desserts with icing.

DIY: consider hosting your own get-together. Get creative with a lighter menu. Rather than focusing on food, plan a caroling party…or gather for a walk to collect pine cones or ivy to make free decorations or centerpieces. Return home to the scent of warm spiced tea and to enjoy some light snacks.

Keep it all in perspective.

Remember that 1 large piece of your grandmother’s fudge is not enough to make you gain weight…and avoiding it at your family gathering won’t cause you to lose weight. Consistent overeating without enough exercise OVER TIME will lead to unwanted weight gain. A long-term commitment to healthy eating (that includes a little “wiggle room”) is the only solution to maintaining a healthy weight for the long term.

The holidays are a time to celebrate. Eating in a convivial atmosphere with family and friends allows us to relax and cast away worries. It is more important to take part in holiday festivities (in moderation, of course) than to worry about every little calorie you consume.

Happy holidays!

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