It’s hard enough for me to stick to a sensible eating plan on days without temptation. That makes sticking to a diet during the holidays (Cookie exchanges! Party buffets! Spiked Egg Nog!) a special trial. Thankfully, the experts at Sharecare have my back, this time with some smart holiday party don’ts.
Don’t arrive hungry
This is a big bad don’t! It’s pretty hard to resist the array of deliciousness if your tummy is growling. “Being hungry can lead to poor food choices and loss of control,” says elite trainer Kat Barefield. Yes, I am sadly familiar with the phrase “loss of control” as it applies to post-party bloat. “Instead, before you hit the party, have a protein- and fiber-rich snack like a whole wheat pita with lean lunchmeat, an apple with a few nuts or a bowl of high-fiber cereal.”
“Eat slowly and enjoy the food,” says Dr. Larry Cheskin of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “This will help you to feel full before you have overeaten. An easy strategy is to put your fork down between each bite and chew at least 10 times for every mouthful.” This pause between bites will give you plenty of time to partake in witty conversation. That’s what you came for, isn’t it?
It’s tempting to gravitate toward the holiday spread and graze your way into high-fat oblivion before you even know it. But it’s just too easy to consume half a quart of buffalo dip in record time. To control portion sizes, dish some treats onto a plate and step away. “If there are things you really want to try—especially foods that are high in fat like meats, sauces and dips—take just enough for a couple bites and really take the time to taste and enjoy them, “says Dr. Karyn Springer of Intermountain Healthcare. “This will help satisfy you without overdoing it.”
Cocktail calories can add up very quickly—especially if you’re in full mingling mode and aren’t paying attention to your intake. “Choose water or low-calorie beverages in order to avoid drinking the extra calories,” Dr. Springer says. Or switch to a no-calorie drink after you’ve had one holiday tipple. You’ll avoid a hangover—and despair on the scale the next day.