We’re not going to sugar coat it; holiday parties are a war zone for anyone watching their diet. How can you combat all those party food temptations? With the help of EatingWell and Real Simple magazines, we have created a list of 10 effective strategies that are sure to bring home a victory. Here they are:
- Eat before you go. Avoid going to a holiday party on an empty stomach. We tend to eat quicker and greater portions when we are feeling very hungry.
- Bring a dish. Contribute to the party by bringing a dish that is healthy. Better yet, bring two! This way you have healthy options that you know you’ll enjoy.
- Count 1-2-3 when pouring yourself a glass of wine. EatingWell magazine says, “Don’t rely on just filling up a glass halfway, since many glasses are half full with 10 ounces of wine, which quickly turns that 125-calorie glass into a 250-calorie one.”
- Drink more water to feel full. You can also eat water-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and soups.
- Use small plates. With so many yummy options on the table, it’s easy to overfill your plate. Using a salad or appetizer sized plate makes it easier to keep portions small.
- Eat the healthy stuff first. EatingWell suggests choosing something light to start off, like vegetables and hummus. Research shows that we consume the largest quantity of the foods we eat first, so save the creamy dip for later when you are less hungry.
- Wait before grabbing seconds. Our brains take about 20 minutes to register the chemicals that make our stomachs feel full. Before you get up to grab more of that delicious artichoke dip, give yourself a few minutes. Not only will this keep you from overeating, you will avoid feeling the awful discomfort and bloating that comes with it.
- Meditate regularly to help with emotional eating and stress. Practicing mediation can seriously reduce overeating. The holidays can be a busy and stressful time, and many of us deal with stress by overindulging. Take a few minutes every day for meditation to find relief from the holiday hustle.
- Set realistic goals. Don’t go into a holiday party with the goal of eating perfectly healthy. This will leave you feeling stressed and pressured, making it difficult to enjoy yourself. Instead, make one or two goals such as no white breads or just one slice of pie.
- Stay positive. Remember that even if you veer off track, not to give up. No one is perfect–especially over the holidays! Don’t punish yourself for indulging, just commit to making healthier choices next time.
Click here to read more tips for eating smart at holiday parties.