Holiday parties are coming up quickly and they can just as quickly result in taking in more calories than most of us would assume, but that doesn’t mean you need to skip them. With a little education, you can get through the holiday party season without blowing your diet.
Holiday party season can create the perfect storm for result seekers. The combination of cocktails and delicious rich foods can easily lead to excess—before you’re even aware of how much damage you’ve done. While enjoying your family and friends celebrations, the alcohol may loosen your determination to keep your calories in check. Then there will be snacks, plentiful and readily available, and often salty enough to fire up your thirst, which is then quenched with yet another drink.
There’s rarely just one holiday party. Many businesses and families host their events and parties at restaurants many with drink bars, which are often extended to a sumptuous dinner. So, by the time you sit down for your meal, those cocktails and appetizers could already have set you back by 1,000 calories...or more!
It’s easy to lose track of how many calories you’re taking in. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid socializing, but it does help to have a strategy for handling the holiday season. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Don't go on an empty stomach.
With so much inexpensive, high-calorie food that’s usually served at holiday parties, the last thing you want is to arrive with an empty stomach. Have a high protein snack late in the afternoon to hold you over until dinner.
2. Choose appetizers with your end goal(s) in mind.
The snacks and appetizers typically offered at holiday parties tend to be greasy, salty and high-calorie. And since appetizers aren’t “plated up” like a meal, it makes it more difficult to keep track of how much you’ve eaten. Start to get acquainted with the calorie counts of typical party appetizers before you head out (see the list below). If you want to dig into snacks, ask your server for a small plate and portion out a few items for yourself and when your plate is empty, you’re done.
3. Know the content of your drinks.
If you’re planning on alcohol, your lowest calorie choices are beer and wine. A bottle of light beer or glass of wine has around 100 calories—a better choice than many mixed drinks. That’s because hard alcohol has over 100 calories per shot, and the add-ins for mixers (sodas, fruit juices, syrups and cream) can drive the calories sky high.
4. Set a limit before you go.
Know the number of calories you have to hit your goals, and then plan to spend them on your cocktails and appetizers wisely.
5. Alternate your drinks.
Once you’ve had your alcoholic beverage, switch to something that’s no-calorie like some sparkling water, iced tea or a diet soda. Some people feel that having a drink in hand makes them more sociable—that doesn’t mean the drink has to have alcohol or calories.
6. Enjoy yourself and have fun!
If your holiday is usually centered around the food and drinks, this season shift your attention to more quality time with your loved ones. Be social, it doesn’t require that you have a drink in your hand or food on your plate. Remember the reason for the season.