I made two gingerbread houses and frosted sugar cookies (using my great new Crate and Barrel cookie cutters) with my daughters this weekend, attended a Santa brunch, and have 4 holiday parties this week including a cookie party I host every year. Next week I have two parties.
It’s not easy to maintain your weight and prevent taking your body on the sugar roller coaster ride. Just because the holidays are around the corner doesn’t mean that you need to choose between food deprivation and weight gain. With a little thought and planning, you can avoid overindulging at parties this holiday season and still have fun!
Here are some holiday party tips- try two, three, or all ten and you will be ready to hit the party scene without expanding your waistline.
1. Don’t skip meals! Going to holiday parties feeling famished only leads to overeating. Eat a snack or small meal prior to your party.
2. If you don’t love it don’t eat it. Ever pick something up because it looks so yummy only to be disappointed after your first bite? If you try a food that looks fabulous but tastes marginal, stop eating it, save the calorie and spend them on food you really enjoy.
3. Drink lots of water. Drink water before and during holiday parties. It will help to fill you up so you are less likely to consume excess calories.
4. Plan your alcohol consumption. It is okay to drink but set some goals to limit your consumption. For example, have no more than 4 drinks per week or two drinks per party.
5. Eat smaller portions. This is the best way to enjoy the foods you love without gaining unwanted weight.
6. Load up on vegetables and fruit. Holiday parties typically have a vegetable and/or fruit tray. This is a perfect opportunity to load up your plate with these tasty, nutrient dense foods.
7. Write down what you eat. A little bit here and a little bit there can quickly add up to 600-800 calories. So, write it down to improve accountability and make it easier to fit into your little black dress.
8. Take it easy on yourself. You do not have to attend every holiday party you’re invited to, and it is okay if everything is not perfect, including your eating. Enjoy the food at holiday parties, just in moderation.
9. Give thanks. It is so easy to lose focus during the holidays since it can be a stressful time. Remember, the holidays are a time to be thankful for all of the blessings in life and to spend time with family and friends.
10. Give the gift of health. The holidays are the perfect time to give the people you love a gift to improve their health. Consider a great book for mental nutrition (not a romance novel), a healthy cookbook, a personal training or nutrition sessions, or a relaxing spa treatment.
Fun Holiday Party Idea
Even though I am a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, I love tasty treats just like the rest of you! About seven years ago I started inviting my girlfriends over for an afternoon in December to have a “Holiday Cookie Exchange”. You can host your own holiday cookie exchange by simply inviting your guests (www.evite.com) and asking each to bring 3 dozen holiday treats. Then you exchange and take your goodies home to your own family.