Food is an integral part of holiday festivities with many of the traditional treats being high in calories and fat. You may be asking yourself, “How can I enjoy the holidays and still manage to maintain a healthful diet?” The secret is moderation and balance so that you may fit in some of your holiday favorites.
Party Tips: It may be difficult to juggle drinks, plates, and conversation during these stand-up events, but try to still pay attention to the foods you are eating.
- Eat small, lower-calorie meals during the day so you can enjoy a special treat later. Eat a healthy snack right before the party – a hungry stomach can sabotage even the strongest will-power. Try a smoothie of skim milk and fruit to take the edge off your appetite.
- When you arrive at the party, don’t rush to the food. Greet people you know, get a low-cal beverage, and settle in.
- Make only one trip to the buffet and be selective. Choose only the foods you really want to eat. Keep portions small. Often, a taste is all you will need to satisfy a craving or your curiosity.
- Skip the fried food and eat the crackers, bread, and fruit. If you want to nibble on cheese, take only one or two pieces.
- Fresh vegetables are always great. Have a small dollop of dip, just enough to coat the end of the carrot stick, or broccoli floret.
- Boiled shrimp or scallops are a good choice. Choose cocktail sauce or lemon and horseradish as a condiment.
Dinner Party Tips: With a meal already planned and out of your hands, you may not have a menu choice.
- If you are bringing a dish, make a lower-fat version of a family favorite.
- If possible, choose two appetizers instead of an entrée, or share an entrée with a friend.
- If second helpings are mandatory with your host, make your first helping small. That way, if you’re enticed to take seconds, at least the total amount of food you eat may equal a normal-sized portion.
- Choose skinless white meat of poultry. It has fewer calories and fat than dark meat.
- Eating a roll is fine. If it’s fresh, you may not even need butter or margarine.
Written by Julie Katz, Registered Dietitian- Baltimore, MD