Don’t let the seasonal swing sideline your waistline!
Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of hitting the social scene this holiday season. You can mingle with friends, family and coworkers without packing on the pounds. Just party smarter with this guide to the do’s and don’t of holiday eating and drinking.
The Deets On The Eats
Don’t ditch meals: Starving yourself by skipping breakfast and lunch will only lead you to become ravenous by the time dinner rolls around, explains Dr. Silverman. Instead, eat normally and load up on the magic three (lean protein, fruits, and vegetables). “This subtle yet powerful trick will prevent that unpleasant feeling of a spike in glucose levels,” says Dr. Silverman.
Start small: Always serve your food on smaller plates. “This way, you put less food on your plate, encouraging proper portion-size. Also, start by filling your plate with vegetables and salads before loading up on meat-entrees and desserts.”
Eat before you go: Most parties don’t start on time, leaving you ravenous and more likely to grab the nearest pastry to stave off pre-dinner hunger, says the doctor. “Eating beforehand will help maintain your focus on friends, rather than food.”
Choose healthy foods first: Opt to fill up on lean protein, leafy greens or vegetables when you first fill your plate. “This way, you’ll be less likely to crave candied walnuts or sweet potato casserole,” says Dr. Silverman.
Try the 3-bite rule: According to Dr. Silverman: “You’re allowed 3 small, polite bites of any dish and no more.”
Eating Do’s: According to the expert, the best foods to choose at a holiday fete include smoked salmon, salsa, guacamole/avocado, vegetables, fruits, cheese, sushi, mixed nuts, chicken kabob and turkey.
Eating Don’ts: Foods to avoid at all costs are crab cakes, meatballs, sliders, deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, chicken wings, baked brie, spinach artichoke dip and pecan pie.
Your Guide To Imbibe
Drink up…later: “Indulging in alcohol when you first arrive can create a lapse in judgement, leading to making poor food choices,” says Dr. Silverman. Save the alcohol until the end of the event to reduce the risk of calorie overload.
Skip sugary packages: Alcohol drinks are an easy culprit for being high in calories. Mix 100% juices with sparkling water; add a fruit garnish. “This makes a quick, healthy drink substitute that the whole family can enjoy instead of mixing alcohol with pre-packaged, high sugar wines.”
Lighten up: If serving lighter cocktails, mix alcohol with a splash of pomegranate or cherry juice; add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. “These juices are both high in antioxidants. Just adding a small amount can help keep calorie and sugar counts down.”
A margarita can be up to 650 calories. The pro recommends reducing the drink’s calories by combining tequila with freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice and a squirt of stevia. Another option is to combine strawberries, ice and tequila in a blender for a lighter version of strawberry margarita.
Wine spritzers are a better choice than mixed drinks, which are much higher in sugar, and lighter or clear colored alcoholic drinks are lower in calories than darker ones. Think vodka (96 calories per 1.5 fl oz.) vs. Long Island iced tea (up to 780 calories for ~7 oz).
Switch glasses: Finally, pour beverages into a tall slender glass instead of wide glasses. “Studies at Cornell have shown that people are more likely to pour 30 percent more liquid into squatter vessels,” summarizes Dr. Silverman.
Mix up your holiday fare with these amazing sweet potato ideas.