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Nutrition

Watch your weight and enjoy a holiday buffet

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You are at your company’s holiday party checking out a glorious buffet that’s laden with delicious food. Naturally you are tempted to dig in, but your rational self warns of the consequences that will surely wind up on your hips. Or will they?  Pile your plate sensibly by balancing healthy foods with some worthy indulgences and you needn’t worry about gaining weight.  Here’s how:

Fill up on fiber
Load up on chopped veggies and leafy salad greens first. A hefty helping of crunchy vegetables is very low in calories and high in fiber – making it a far smarter belly-filler than 5 pigs in a blanket that pack 410 calories and 30g fat!

Savor some soup
Soup is delicious and filling, and sipping a steaming bowl slows you down so you won’t have as much time to gobble down a plate full of something else. When it comes to soup, just be sure to avoid creamy varieties like lobster bisque or broccoli-cheddar that can have up to 300 calories and 20g fat per cup! Instead, go with broth-based soups, such as minestrone or vegetable, which are low in fat and contain under100 calories per cup.

Seafood is slim food
Shrimp cocktail and sashimi are mainstays at holiday parties and the good news is that these are naturally low in fat and calories. One serving of shrimp cocktail with about six large shrimp and 3 tbsp. of seafood cocktail sauce weighs in at just 109 calories, with 0.4g of fat, no saturated fat. Compare that to one cup of fried calamari, which has more than 300 calories and 14g fat!   

Keep it simple
If an entrée is swimming under a layer of sauce, breading, cheese, or gravy, walk on by. An ounce of brown gravy has 100 calories and 4 grams of fat. You won’t sacrifice flavor by choosing lighter fare, such as turkey breast over honey ham or lean roast beef in place of duckling.

Watch portions
Eat what you like, but keep to single portions so you don’t swallow more calories than you would any other day.  For women that’s about 2,000 calories daily and for men it’s about 2,400. To prevent all-out gorging don’t arrive at a holiday party hungry. Eat a light snack beforehand, such as a salad or some whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese.

Avoid sugary cocktails
Festive drinks such as eggnog, spiked hot cocoas, sugary fruit punches, and ciders can be outright calorie bombs. Choose a wine spritzer over a cup of eggnog and you’ll save more than 200 calories and 8g fat! Better yet, try my Kiwi Vanilla Cooler (1/2 kiwi, peeled and muddled, ice, and 2 ounces Voli Pear Vanilla Vodka) for a delicious holiday cocktail with a zing!

3-bite dessert
What’s a holiday party without some sinfully good dessert? Enjoy yourself worry-free using the “three-bite” rule.

For more tips on healthy eating, drinking and weight loss, preview my new book The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and author of the Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber as well as the bestselling F-Factor Diet. In partnership with the Hain Celestial Group, Tanya has a national line of high-fiber foods marketed under the F-Factor name. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.