Learn how to avoid overeating at a holiday party.
By Stepfanie Romine, editor of SparkRecipes.com
Temptations abound at parties, but celebration doesn't have to mean overindulgence. Follow these tips to stay on track during the holidays.
Say no the first time to passed hors d'oeuvres. Chances are good that food will come around again. See what's being served before you decide what to eat. (Learn more Nice Ways to Say 'No' to Food Pushers)
Limit your alcohol. Inhibitions are lowered with every drink, and those cocktails aren't calorie free. Alternate alcohol with water or another calorie free drink. And don't combine alcohol with caffeine. Caffeine speeds up the rate at which alcohol is metabolized, and it masks the effect of the alcohol.
Eat before you go. Don't go to a party starving. Eat a hard-boiled egg and an apple, a banana with some peanut butter or a slice of turkey. The protein will fill you up for few calories. You'll be less likely to binge if you're not overly hungry.
Treat appetizers as a meal. If you're going to eat 400 calories worth of appetizers, know that that's your dinner. Don't expect to go home and eat a "real" meal.
Survey the spread before you fill your plate. Confronted by so many rich foods, you might want to start piling up the food, but stop and take a deep breath. Think before you serve yourself (and try to serve yourself, so you control the serving size).
Keep track of what you're eating. Don't mindlessly eat, and try not to eat and make conversation at the same time. If your eating and drinking is spread out, you might not realize how many calories you're eating. Just because you're not eating an entire meal doesn't mean that those are free calories. (Try: 6 Party Recipes Under 100 Calories)
Buddy up. If you're worried about eating too many sweets, share your dessert with someone else. You'll eat less and not do as much damage.
Use a smaller plate, or commit to just one round of food. Don't pile your food so high that's it's falling off the plate.
Be choosy, and stick to proper serving sizes. Take only those foods you really like, and don't overload on them.
Bring a dish, if appropriate. If you bring something healthy, like salsa with vegetables, whole-grain crackers and light dip or a large salad, you know there's at least one option for you at the party. Take small helpings of other dishes and load up on your healthier one.
You can stay healthy this time of year. Learn how to avoid holiday weight gain.
How do you stay on track at a party?
SparkRecipes.com editor Stepfanie Romine is a certified yoga teacher and co-author of "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight." A vegetarian and runner, she has lived and cooked on three continents.