Great Tips for Guilt-Free Holiday Eating

From the parties and high-calorie beverages to the extra sweets and goodies in the office break room, the holidays make it hard to stay the course in eating healthy. On average, Americans gain approximately 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season. But with a commitment to your weight loss goals (yes, you can continue to lose weight even during the holidays), getting through these celebratory days without feeling deprived will be a cinch.

Here are seven tips to help you stay the course:
  1. Eat before you go to the party. If you arrive hungry, you’re more likely to make poor food decisions. Don’t skip meals throughout the day of your event. Eat a light meal high in protein such as a half of a grilled chicken breast and salad or fruits high in fiber to satisfy any hunger before the party.
  2. Choose a small plate. Using a smaller plate, for instance, allows you to put less food on your plate and encourages proper portion sizes.
  3. Hang out by the veggies. Sure, there’s going to be lots of delicious foods calling your name, but be sure to fill your plate with veggies first.
  4. Small portions mean you won’t feel deprived. You’re celebrating, so if you want that brie dish or Swedish meatballs, go for it. “Cheat” foods in moderation won’t sabotage your long-term goals.
  5. If you choose to imbibe, plan your food around your drink. The average 5-ounce glass of wine has 150 calories, which means that you’ll need to eat that many fewer calories of food. Another option would be to stay on that treadmill an extra mile on the days you know you’re going to imbibe.
  6. Desserts. Yes, they deserve their own category. Decide before you go whether you’re going to sample the sweets table. Mentally, you’ll have your mind made up and will thereby be less likely to give in to temptation or impulse. Again, if you decide to go for it, moderation is key if you decide to have that slice of chocolate cake. And if you choose to forgo dessert, stay as far away from the dessert table as possible.
  7. Walk it out. If possible, take a brisk walk after the party. Ideally, you’d be able to walk to the party and back.
Remember: Let Yourself Have Fun

Parties and rich foods are part of the holidays — the most important goal of the party is to enjoy your family and friends. But if you happen to eat or drink more than you told yourself you would, the good news is you can always start fresh the next day. Let yourself celebrate without the guilt. One night won’t destroy what you’ve worked toward if you make every other day count. With a few strategies and your commitment, you’ll have even more reason to celebrate.

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