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By now you may have started attending the holiday gatherings and parties. Dinners. Cocktails. Cookies and fudge! Oh my.
Yes, it’s that time of the year. The time when your social life is about to go cray-cra. Every weekend, a new party (or three) to go to. What food will they serve? Do you care? Probably not, let's be honest. It's the time of year to splurge, right? But you also know it will catch up with you, so you try to be good. You don’t want to spoil the fun but, with treats every day your best healthy eating intentions go out the window. If only there were a way to enjoy all that delicious holiday food without compromising your nutrition goals…
What you need is a game plan for party nights. Here are 5 healthy eating strategies to enjoy those delicious holiday treats without guilt:
1. Seek Out Healthy Options
Rich, high calorie foods such as buttery mashed potatoes may be typical Christmas fare, but they’re never the only foods on the menu. Look out for healthier options like salads, poultry that’s not stuffed to the rim with who knows what and grilled fish. Fill most of your plate with the healthiest stuff you can find so you can treat yourself later to that pie!
2. Bring A Dish
If you’re afraid you won’t find that many healthy options on the menu, why not offer to bring a dish? Chances are your host will thank you for the help and both you and the other guests will have a few delicious healthy treats to munch on. Win win.
3. Eat Before The Party
I’m not suggesting you eat a full dinner before the party and sit for one hour in front of an empty plate while everyone else enjoys their holiday fare. That’d be rude. But you can have a light snack before leaving the house. Eating a small salad or a bunch of nuts before the party helps curb your appetite. You’ll be able to eat everything on the menu but in smaller portions that won’t make the pounds pile up.
4. Indulge In Your Fave TreatsIs that slice of chocolate cake calling your name? Go ahead and eat it. It’s the holidays! You’re allowed a treat. A slice of cake won’t sabotage your healthy diet. Watching everyone else enjoy their dessert without you one too many times will. You’ll soon fall into temptation and start binging on everything sweet. The trick is to indulge in moderation. Stop depriving yourself of what you crave and aim for a balanced meal instead. If you follow all the tips above and get your fix of fruits and vegs, there’s no reason why a sweet treat - or burger and fries if you have a savory tooth - can’t be part of your holiday meals, too.
5. Drink Wisely
Any party worthy of this name calls for a martini or a glass of Prosecco. But don’t let that be the only thing you gulp down during the night. And don’t even think about that soda drink. Soda drinks make you pile on the pounds and age you - fast (sugar causes glycation, a process that destroys your skin-firming collagen). Sip water, instead. It’s the healthiest drink on the planet. Even better, a sparking mineral water. If you don’t want to look like an old bore, add a few slices of fruit or mint leaves to your glass. It’ll make your drink taste good and keep your wrinkles at bay. How many drinks do that? I've even been known to add a splash of wine or a liquor to my sparking water to make an ultra-light cocktail.
Go enjoy the festive season and all the delicious foods it brings - without guilt!