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How to Eat Healthy at Holiday Parties

On a Diet: How to Deal With Holiday Parties

Holiday parties may seem exciting enough to forgo healthy eating, but they aren't as exciting as fitting into your skinny jeans. Work these tips into your party mantra so that you can stick to your diet without missing a thing.

  • Eat your calories: Calorie counting is hard, if not impossible at parties. An easy way to cut them down without thinking is just to watch the liquid calories. Each glass of wine can be over 100 cal, and that's not to mention the spiced or chocolate drinks you may be tempted with on the side. Determine exactly how many glasses you want to enjoy before heading into the party so that you can plan accordingly. A preparty workout can help you counterbalance a glass or two with little to no damage.
  • Balance is key: Holiday parties can bring new dishes to the table, but it doesn't hurt to stick with traditional rules. Try to balance out your plate with enough vegetables, protein, and whole grains. It helps to load the veggies on your plate first, then protein, so that you're guaranteed to get enough nutrients without splurging on the first plate of carbohydrates you see. Remember that you can always go back for more.
  • Slow down: We know we're supposed to eat slow, but how many times are we conscious about this? Holiday parties can actually help slow the pace of your eating because of all the excitement going on. A good rule of thumb is to take as long to eat a meal as it took you, or the host, to cook it. Think about enjoying the flavors as well as your company with every bite.

See more holiday party tips after the break!

  • Stay true to yourself: Eating more than you planned on is not uncommon at holiday parties. Overindulging happens around others because you feel safety in matching their numbers. Counting the number of drinks or appetizers your peers have consumed is common and even polite in social gatherings so that you can determine what's appropriate to consume yourself. This isn't so friendly for losing weight, however, unless your friends are on the same page. Eating until you have no more hunger is a good trick to stop yourself from getting that uncomfortable full feeling.
  • Don't save up: A lot of people out there will save their appetite before big nights so that they can enjoy more of the delicious food that's being offered. This isn't such a great method if you want to keep your metabolism steady and avoid crabbiness. Waiting too long to eat will not only send your body into starvation mode, but it will also shrink your stomach so that you feel full sooner when you do start to indulge. Eating throughout the day will maintain insulin levels and combat a possible dinner binge, so try to digest something every three hours.
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