Guest Author - Angela Thornton-Millard
Stay hydrated. Dehydration can sometimes mask itself as huger. So, keep a bottle of water with you and stay hydrated. Try to limit or avoid dehydrating drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol. Make sure to drink a large glass of water before heading out to any holiday parties. That way your stomach will feel full, and you will avoid getting dehydrated.
Don't drink your calories. Cocktails and holiday punch can add a lot of unnecessary calories to your day. Cocktails can also cloud your judgment, causing you to indulge in unhealthy foods. Stick with water with a lemon slice or club soda with a lime. If you want to indulge in a cocktail, choose lower calorie options like a small glass of wine or a gin and tonic. If you plan to have more than one cocktail, have a glass of water or other low-calorie beverage between cocktails to lessen the calories and to compensate for the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Most importantly, if you do drink alcohol at a holiday party, do not drive. Driving under the influence is not only bad for your health, but for the health of other drivers as well.
Have a snack. Don't go to a holiday party famished. About half an hour before the party, eat a healthy snack. Try an apple with a dab of natural peanut butter, some carrot sticks and cheese cubes, or hummus and fresh vegetables. If you aren't starving when you get to the party, it will be easier to make good choices.
Handling the buffet. First, choose the smallest plate available, you can always go through the line a second time if necessary. Look over the choices and focus on healthy options. Most people offer a veggie tray, a fruit tray or a salad option. Load up your plate with these items. Then take small portions of the higher calorie treats. This way you won't feel totally deprived but will still avoid too many extra calories.
Set some rules. Before you go to a party, set up some rules for yourself. For example, tell yourself you are going vegetarian for the evening. That way you automatically avoid some of the higher calorie options without feeling totally deprived. If sweets are your downfall, make a rule to avoid all sugar. Let yourself indulge in the savory treats, but avoid the dessert table.
The holidays should be fun, and you shouldn't feel totally deprived. Set up some parameters for your holiday eating so that you can enjoy your parties and gatherings without totally abandoning your healthy eating principles. You will feel better and avoid the holiday weight gain.