Fact: Every pound you don’t gain during the holidays is a pound you won’t have to struggle to lose after New Year’s.
But avoiding holiday weight gain can be challenging – especially when faced with the array of tempting, calorie-rich food and drink offered at most holiday gatherings.
Here are some good party strategies to keep the scale from moving in the wrong direction:
Before the Party
Have a nosh. A small meal, maybe some fruit and lean protein, will keep cravings at bay.
Drink water. A large glass will help fill you up.
Visualize. Imagine yourself being in full control of what you will eat and drink.
Set a limit. Decide in advance how many drinks you will allow yourself.
Sip skinny drinks. Seltzer and diet soda are great for cutting calories in alcoholic drinks. For example, wine spritzers are a good choice.
Skip the booze. With this option, you may thank yourself in the morning.
Start out light. Fill a small plate with healthy options like raw veggies and low-fat dip.
Be selective. Choose a few special higher-calorie appetizers to enjoy. Savor them, and don’t return for more.
Pass on everyday snacks. You can have pretzels and potato chips any time of year, so why waste the calories?
Move away. Sit far from the tasty morsels and you won’t be mindlessly popping them in your mouth.
Create a colorful plate. Start by filling ¾ of your plate with low-fat vegetable dishes and salads. Then add small portions of only the dishes you would most enjoy.
Eat slowly. Give your brain time to get the message that you’ve eaten enough.
Reconsider seconds. Think: Am I really hungry? If the answer is no, skip seconds.
Help Yourself. Take along a tray of Uncle Wally’s gourmet streusel-topped Mini Muffins for the dessert table. They come in a variety of delicious flavors and the portions are controlled for you.
Be picky. When faced with a dessert spread, choose small portions of only one or two of your favorites. Move away from the desserts, enjoy each bite on your plate, and don’t return.
Be fruitful. If there’s fruit or a fruit salad, fill up.
Enjoy the Java. A cup of coffee or tea (easy on the cream and sugar) can be very satisfying.
If you slip up at a holiday gathering, eating or drinking more than you planned, forgive yourself and move on. Drink lots of water the next day. Eat mostly fruit, vegetables and lean proteins, and fit in some exercise. You may find you didn’t blow it so badly after all.
If you missed it, take a look at last week’s Uncle Wally’s Blog, Healthy Holiday Hints, 10 great ideas for staying in shape during this busy season.