How To Eat Healthy at Holiday Parties
The holiday season is fast approaching and, if you’re one of the many Americans struggling to keep calories, fat and carbs to a minimum that means you’ve got an uphill battle ahead of you. By having a plan in advance for how you will tackle the holiday food frenzy, however, you can successfully make it to the New Year without any extra pounds weighing you down. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you begin making the holiday party rounds with friends and family.
Get enough rest.
Believe it or not, how rested we are can actually impact the types of food choices we make. In fact, studies have indicated that people who are not well-rested tend to choose foods that are higher in fat and calories. So, make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep the night before that next holiday gathering.
Snack before you go.
If you’re worried there won’t be many healthy options at the party, you can take control by enjoying a few nutritious snacks before you go. For instance, a low-calorie cheese stick, a handful of nuts or a few whole grain crackers can help fill you up so you won’t be tempted to overindulge once you arrive at the party.
Bring a healthy dish.
Bringing your own dish can ensure that at least one food option at the party or gathering will be a good choice. And that doesn’t mean you have to show up with something bland, tasteless or boring either. There are literally hundreds of delicious options that include fruits, veggies, and other healthy ingredients, so give it a whirl. (Check out our recipes page for some great ideas.)
Make wise choices.
Appetizers, buffets, and desserts are all marks of a typical holiday fête. They’re also typically laden with unwanted calories, carbohydrates and extra fat you don’t need. When you’re faced with a variety of options, try and stick to healthier menu items, such as veggies and homemade hummus instead of chips and dip. And keep in mind that research shows people tend to consume the largest quantity of the first things they eat, so start smart with your food choices to set the tone.
The ideal serving of wine is 5 ounces. Unfortunately, many glasses hold a much larger quantity, which can make it easy to consume extra calories you don’t want or need. Instead of relying on the old “fill it halfway” strategy, try counting to yourself instead. By the count of 3, you should have poured roughly 5 ounces, which will keep your calorie intake to a minimum. And remember to drink plenty of water in between. This will help you not to overdo it on alcohol and also keep you feeling full.
Use smaller plates.
According to the folks at the Calorie Control Council, the average holiday dinner plate contains a whopping 3,000 calories (and that doesn’t count appetizers or desserts). You can trick your mind into thinking you’re eating more by downsizing your plate to a smaller one. In fact, doing so can help you cut those calories by nearly half.
Nibble, don’t gobble.
Studies have shown that taking smaller bites as well as chewing your food longer and slower can trick the brain into believing you’ve actually eaten more. Keep this in mind when consuming holiday meals, snacks, and desserts. Nibbling on smaller portions per bite and chewing more can help save you almost 150 calories per serving!
Situate yourself away from the food.
When mingling at holiday parties, it can be easy to find yourself snacking without even realizing you’re doing it. This can lead to consuming a bunch of extra calories and fat grams in the process. Avoid this as much as possible by standing or sitting away from holiday munchies. And try to be mindful of what you’re eating at all times so you don’t end up losing focus and overdoing it.
The holidays are a great time to reconnect with loved ones. Thankfully, they don’t have to derail your diet in the process. The eight tips above should help keep those unwanted extra calories out of all of your holiday gatherings.