Eight Holiday Party Eating Tips

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Never go to a party hungry

The day of a holiday party be sure to eat normally throughout the day and try to have a small, healthy snack before leaving for the party.  You are more likely to overindulge on the mounds of holiday food if you arrive with an empty stomach.  Also, the food you prepare for yourself will likely be healthier than anything found at a holiday party.

Easy on the hors d'oeurves

French ladies may be able to keep their wastelines trimmer than Americans, but grazing too much on the hore d'oeurves at a party before the main course can pack on more calories than anyone would care to ingest in one day.  Save your calories for the main dish.  It probably tastes better anyway.

Use a small plate

If you are at a buffet-style party, use a small plate (usually found at the dessert table) and commit to only filling your plate once or twice during the evening.  You are much more likely to dish out smaller portions for yourself if you have less room on your plate.

Window shop first

Would you buy the first little black dress you see in the first boutique you enter?  Of course not.  So, when you arrive at a party (hopefully you haven't arrived hungry, see tip number one) take a quick survey of the various foods available.  Make a plan for the evening (i.e. two veggies, two fruits, one carb and one dessert, for example) and then be diligent about your choices.

Balance your party fare

Just like you would in your daily diet choices, be sure to mix up the types of foods that end up on your (small) plate.  Be sure to have a several veggies and myriad of fruits and other low-fat options on your plate right away.  And, you guessed it, limit the number of cream, fat and sugar-laden treats that make it on your plate.

Step away from the buffet

Avoid socializing in the kitchen, next to the buffet table or wherever the food or drink happens to be at the party.  If you are in arms reach of the food, you are much more likely to mindlessly consume more calories than intended.  Remember, gatherings like this are for socializing, try not to make food the central focus of the evening.

Avoid add-ons

Butter, oil, gravies, sauces, salad dressings all tend to be very high in fat, sodium and extra calories.  If you must dress your salad or mashed potatoes, use the dressings sparingly and add them to the side of the plate rather than all over the meal itself.

Say no to seconds

Most holiday fare is high in calories and fat.  Enjoy the holiday food once, but do not go back for seconds.  If you must, take second helpings of a healthier choice, like salad or fruit.  Remember, there will most likely be many more opportunities to sample the sugar plums and holiday cookies at future parties.