It’s holiday time again and for many of us that means lots of office parties, cocktail parties and food-filled family gatherings. Gaining weight is easy right now, but it isn’t inevitable if you know how to pick and choose your way among all the goodies without going overboard.
Choose cider or champagne rather than a sugary cocktail, for example, or go for crudité and sushi over fried items such as spring rolls. Stay away from fat bombs like the traditional cheese plate; a measly cube of cheddar can have upwards of 100 calories and plenty of artery-clogging saturated fat. And a small plate of the typical hors d'oeuvres plus a cup of eggnog can really set you back - clocking in at a whopping 900 calories.
Take a look:
1 slider: 140 calories
1 pig in a blanket: 80 calories
1 mini crab cake: 180 calories
1 mini spring roll: 160 calories
1 cup of eggnog: 340 calories
Total: 900 calories
Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight while enjoying the holidays to the fullest.
1. Never go to a party hungry: The old adage, “don’t spoil your appetite” is wrong! I say “do spoil your appetite before your next party”. Having a pre-dinner snack consisting of fiber and protein will keep you from overeating later. What’s great about fiber-rich foods is that just by eating them you feel full longer on relatively few calories.
2. Outsmart the holiday buffets: Take a moment to scan the buffet for healthier items and make it a point to stick with those and then one or two tasting size indulgences. Use a salad plate for your entrée and imagine it as a peace sign. Put lean protein on one side and vegetables on the other and save room for starchy sides or dessert in the smaller bottom section.
3. Dress tight: When scouring your closet for the right dinner outfit look for something tailored or even a bit snug. It's much easier to overeat when wearing loose fitting clothing or a bottom with an elastic waist band. Sticking to fitted pants or a tight skirt will help keep you from eating too much.
4. Keep your hands busy: Choose a clutch instead of a purse with a strap. That way when you are holding a clutch in one hand and a cocktail in your other, you won’t feel tempted to grab yet another pig in a blanket or pop another mini quiche in your mouth.
The easiest and most effective way to keep your weight in check is to follow a diet program that fits your tastes and lifestyle. My new book The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories & Fat Disappear – With Fiber! can fit into your lifestyle – with doable meal plans, simple shopping lists and more than 100 delicious recipes that let you eat more, lose more and live more than ever.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.