December Holiday Survival Guide: THE MAIN EVENT

Turkey, stockings, that jolly guy in the red suit- these things are suppose to be stuffed during the holidays. You? Not so much. It may seem impossible to make it to the New Year without gobbling up every last delectable goodie. Here’s some tips to enjoy your favorite treats these next weeks so you don’t come out the other side of January 1st with extra padding.

  1. Scan And Select The Spread. Scout the food landscape before choosing what to have. Some items will speak to you; others won’t. And the last thing you want to do is fill up on things you feel lukewarm about only to discover there’s a table of your favorite (insert name here) in another room or being served later.
  2. Trade In The Dinner Plate. Research shows that the bigger the plate, the more calories you’ll down. If you eat off a smaller plate, you can reduce your intake by 15%-45%! I go through a buffet with a salad plate whenever possible.
  3. Make a 25/75 Split. Try the “vice-virtue” approach, say researchers from Vanderbilt University. They found that filling 25% of your plate with a “vice” food (like sweet potato pie) and 75% with a “virtue” food (like roasted brussel sprouts) can be just as satisfying as eating almost a full plate of the high-cal item because the first three bites are the most “potent”.
  4. Remember, You’re Not Just There For The Food. Yes, we’re all excited about pigs in a blanket, but there are nonfood forms of entertainment too- it’s a party, after all! Focus on the family (ok, maybe not all members of the family), the friends, the dancing and the ambience.
  5. Take a 30-minute time-out. Wait until you’ve been at the party for at least 30 minutes until you start eating. This gives you time to relax when you first walk in, get involved in the festivities, and survey the best food picks for your diet plan.
  6. Be sneaky. Carry your own salad dressing packets or low-calorie alternative chocolate bar in your bag. Use them to help you say no to hidden calories or certain foods without feeling like you’re missing out. I often pass on dessert and then eat my 100-calorie chocolate pretzels on the car ride home!
  7. Use the garbage pail. Better to throw away fat-and calorie-laden foods than your self-esteem, self-confidence, hard work, and skinny jeans. Are you still having a hard time parting with tortilla chips because you feel guilty about wasting food? Here’s a thought: donate the food to a local shelter or religious institution, both of which provide daily meals for the less fortunate. You’ll feel much better, even relieved, to have the tempting food out of reach.
  8. Put Your Doggie Bag Or Leftovers On Ice. You’ll have had your fill at the party, so when you get home (and your willpower may be waning thanks to a little bubbly, perhaps), pop leftovers into the freezer. You’ll be less tempted to polish them off and will have a treat for after the holidays.



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