It’s that time of year when everyone begins to gather to celebrate the holiday season. This means a lot of fun and laughs with friends and coworkers, but also parties and potlucks full of unhealthy junk foods. Follow these six tips to help you enjoy your holiday parties, without overindulging.
- Eat beforehand. Eat a good meal before you go to the party. Fill up on lean proteins and veggies, and this will help ensure that you are at least partially full by the time you show up. Suddenly, the junk food doesn’t look as good anymore.
- Be the last in line for food. By being the last in line, you will decrease the amount of time you have to go for a second (or third) serving. Also, the food will look less appetizing after a half dozen or more people have already served themselves.
- Chew some gum. Where do most of the calories come from at parties? Hint: it’s not the main dishes. Generally party patrons consume most of their calories from chips and dips. Foods that are usually set where people are sitting, which adds convenience and a constant reminder of the presence of food. And if you conversation partner is munching on these snacks, so will you. By chewing gum you will take the convenience away, and likely the conflicting flavor of the gum will make the snacks seem less appetizing.
- Bring a healthy dish (or dishes) to share. By bringing a healthy dish to share, not only will you appear to be a thoughtful guest, but will also ensure that you have something you can eat guilt-free. Now you can load up your plate with this healthy dish, taking away valuable plate real-estate from unhealthier options.
- Be social. No, seriously. If you spend most of your time chatting with other party goers you will have less time to shovel food into your mouth, forcing you to eat less and to eat slower–which has been shown to reduce overall calorie consumption. Think about the last time you were at a party where you knew very few people in attendance, what did you do? If you’re like a lot of people you probably filled up on the food because it gave you something to do. Get out and strike up conversations, you will find your desire to pig out has been slowed or even halted completely.
- Keep a glass of water in your hand, and keep it full. While you are busy being the most interesting person in the room, make sure you keep a glass of water in your hand. You may have that friend or coworker, or random person you struck up a conversation with, that tries to convince you to try [insert homemade dish or alcoholic beverage here]. By keeping your hands full (it doesn’t really matter with what), you can avoid these social pressures. Friend wants you to drink? “Thanks, but I already have one.” Coworker wants you to try the six-cheese mac and cheese loaded with fat? “I’ll give it a try after I’m finished with my drink.” They will forget about you long before you finish your drink. Having something in your hands will also help keep you from mindlessly snacking.
By following the above tips you can enjoy the holidays while combating the dreaded and often inevitable holiday weight gain.