How can I stay on my diet when I eat at holiday parties?

If you're dieting during the holidays, here are some tips for staying on track at parties:
  • Snack before you go. Never go to a party starving. Eat a good source of protein, like almonds, or have a bowl of broth-based soup. Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water before you go.
  • Keep your distance. Move your socializing away from the bowl of peanuts or platter of cheese pinwheels. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Don't follow the "have one bite of everything" mantra. Our bodies are programmed to seek variety -- the more variety we're offered, the more we eat. Stick to a satisfying amount of the foods you really want.
  • Don't let a slip-up do you in. If you catch yourself overindulging, don't throw your diet out the window. Stop where you are without falling into the "I'll resume my diet tomorrow" trap.
Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics
Try following these tips to stick with your diet throughout the holiday season.
  • Don't go to a party hungry. Eat a light snack before going out.
  • Choose only the foods you really want and keep the portions small.
  • Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items. Fill up on lower calorie, nutrient dense foods such as fruits, veggies, lean meats and whole grain breads.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • When you arrive at a party, avoid rushing to the food. Go enjoy some conversation with friends and family first.
  • Eat slowly and enjoy each mouthful.
  • Hold your glass in the hand that you normally eat with to make finger foods less accessible.
  • Contrast flavors, textures and temperatures for more satisfaction in your eating.
  • Avoid grazing while. Little nibbles can really add up!
  • Be physically active every day. Take a walk after a meal if you can.
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
Motivation and commitment are the main ways to stay on your diet over the holidays. Before the holidays arrive, set a weight goal and a plan to make it happen. Make sure you get to the gym on a regular basis. Decide ahead of time what you will let yourself eat at holiday parties. Also decide what you will to let yourself not eat. Planning ahead is the key to success.
Karyn A. Springer, MD
Family Medicine

Try to eat a small, healthy snack prior to the party so that you won't be starving by the time the party starts. 

When you are at the party, watch serving sizes, especially on foods that are high in fat like meats, sauces and dips. If there are things you really want to try, take just enough for a couple bites and really take the time to taste and enjoy them. This will help satisfy you without overdoing it.

Choose water or low-calorie beverages in order to avoid drinking the extra calories.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.