10 Fool-Proof Ways to Maintain Your Dignity (and Waistline) at Any Holiday Party

By Kati Mora, MS, RD from AroundThePlate.org

Here we are smack dab in the middle of holiday party season! While I'm no expert when it comes to surviving white elephant gifts or ugly Christmas sweaters, I can help you maintain your dignity and your waistline when it comes to food and drink this time of year. Kati Mora of Around The Plate offers fool-proof plans for surviving holiday parties, even …

To eat and drink your best this season, try following at least one, if not all, of my top ten holiday survival tips.


Tip #1: Eat before you go. It can be really tempting to skip a meal prior to any event where they are serving food. Try to avoid this if you can. Although it may seem like a good idea, chances are that you will be less likely to resist overindulging once you get there. Eat a protein and fiber rich meal or snack before you leave the house and you will be able to make food decisions you won't regret later that evening.

Tip #2: Drink some water. Water is your best friend at parties. It's calorie free and can help buy you time in between bites or drinks. This time will allow you to better gauge your hunger and help minimize post-party fatigue. Want something fun to drink too? Try our Triple Berry Sparklers made with Perrier and fresh berries.

Tip #3: Search and Rescue Those Veggies. When you arrive at a party, find those veggies stat! Vegetable platters are often a party staple, but they aren't always a sure thing. Find vegetable-based dishes first when you are at a party and take pity on them. They often get skipped over, which is unfortunate because they are loaded with nutrients, keep you feeling full longer, and take up a lot of space on your plate. This means there will probably less room for extra sweets you really didn't need anyways.

Tip #4: Choose a Smaller Plate. A great way to eat better without drawing too much attention to yourself is to grab a smaller plate. You won't be able to fill it as fully as a larger plate, but your friends will be none the wiser. Plus, you might find that filling a smaller plate will help you feel fuller than if you put only a few items on a larger plate. It's a brain teaser, but it works.

Tip #5: Avoid the Punch Bowl. Believe it or not, that harmless looking bowl of beverage is anything but. Most punch recipes call for lots of sugary juice and soda. Some even incorporate alcohol, and it may taste great, but it is a whole lot of empty calories headed your way by the cupful. If you can't avoid it altogether, consider limiting yourself to one glass. Then switch back to water. We've got more tips on avoiding the empty calorie snack trap.

Tip #6: Play the Party Games. Although the party games may be a little hokey, chances are that if you get into the spirit of it all you will ultimately have more fun. Plus, you won't be thinking just about the food the whole time. Some party games even involve getting up and walking around. If so, it's like a little extra physical activity bonus that you get to enjoy.

Tip #7: Skip the Dip. Dips are another culprit for hidden calories. Many are high in fat too, so you have to be careful. Consider keeping portions small or skip the dips altogether. If you are in charge of bringing a dish to pass, consider bringing some salsa, guacamole, hummus, like the Pumpkin Hummus we created for HelloGiggles, or a non-fat yogurt based dip, like the Chocolate Hazelnut Yogurt dip we created for Chobani. Those are all much better alternatives and still taste great.

Cocoa powder and hazelnut extract transform Chobani vanilla Greek yogurt into an indulgent treat.

Tip #8: Take Your Time. Although you may want to leave the party as quickly as possible, go easy on the food. It's not a race and you should enjoy the foods you choose to adorn your plate. Plus, the longer you take in between bites, the better you can monitor your hunger cues. They are easy to miss, so always look for ways to increase your odds of noticing them.

Tip #9: Don't Let Others Get You Down. When you eat differently than the majority of other party goers, chances are people will notice. They may even express guilt for not eating as healthy as you or, go the opposite route, and make you feel guilty for choosing something that isn't necessarily healthy, but just tastes great. These people are called food pushers! Either way, don't listen! Eat your best and don't feel bad about it. It is a party after all and it should be fun, not guilt-ridden. If for some reason you do fall off the wagon, pick yourself up the next day and get back on track. Don't let your past food mistakes damper your future ones.

Tip #10: Savor Your Food. Lastly, be sure to really enjoy the foods you choose to place upon your plate. From veggies to cake, the foods you pick at a holiday party should be those that you love. Enjoy each bite and you might even find that less truly is more. Afterall, it's usually the first couple of bites that taste the best anyway.

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