Healthy U

Holiday Party Survival Tips

Rosetta Danigole, Lead Dietician
Holiday Party Survival Tips

You don’t have to ditch your healthy eating regimen just because it’s the holidayspeople in a kitchen on a holiday

The holiday season can be challenging if you’re trying to eat healthy, especially so in New Orleans where celebrations extend through Mardi Gras. However, the holiday season is not an excuse for a binge that doesn’t end until Spring. Holiday parties are known for highlighting our favorite dishes which can be very high in sugar, fat and let’s not forget the cocktails.

Below are some tips that may help you gain some control amidst the holiday seasons coming upon us and beyond.

Remember that healthy eating is a lifestyle and moderation is the key to staying on your healthy eating path through the holidays.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re invited to a gathering with friends and family.

  1. Put it on a plate - Select a small plate to put the hors d’oeuvres on so this way you can keep track of your portion sizes. Keep in mind that hors d’oeuvres are usually made with a lot of oils, sugars and tempting high caloric foods. Don’t’ deprive yourself but keep your choices to just a few pieces.
  2. Try this measuring tip - To be sure you are getting the right portion size, use your hands. For the average woman, the palm of your hand is two to three ounces – your thumb is equal to one teaspoon.”people passing food around a table
  3. Find a mix - Avoid filling your plate with one food only, like a hefty pile of cheese. Instead, try to balance your plate with lean proteins such as lean turkey or ham, whole grains such rice and pasta dishes (¼ plate size serving) and veggies. If the veggies are made in a casserole keep in mind portion size is ¼ size on the plate. If those options aren’t available, just remember to pace yourself.
  4. No need to skip the gumbo - Holiday gumbos are not such a bad choice; especially if made with seafood and chicken. It also can help fill you up so that you can moderate the rest of your meal.
  5. Stick to high-fiber foods - Making sure foods high in fiber are more abundant on your plate than anything else. Before eating the main meal at the party try to include the veggie and fruit plate for starters. This should cut your appetite so that you won’t stuff yourself too much. Remember to hydrate as well; drink water as much as possible.
  6. Share - If you’re at a sit-down dinner, and portions are on the larger side, share with your date or a friend. From appetizers to entrees, most dishes are easily shareable and you’ll end up feeling better after. Not to mention, your host will probably appreciate that you didn’t waste food
  7. Stay hydrated and make sure you don’t overdo the alcohol. Chances are you’ll have a drink or two this holiday season, so imbibe wisely. If the bartender at the party you’re attending is serving sweet, sugary drinks, ask for red wine instead. You can also ask them to modify their signature drink; club soda and fresh lime juice is always a great alternative for sugary lemon-lime sodas. And most importantly, make sure to drink plenty of water.
  8. Pace yourself - Holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint, and each gathering you attend will mostly likely require a different set of heart-healthy decisions.

Everyone wants to enjoy the holiday season and not stress over too many things but when it is all said and done you will feel much better if you don’t overdo it. It is definitely a mindset. Be mindful about what you’re going to be eating and plan for that. It’s a called a treat because you’re not supposed to have it all time.

people with santa hats smiling

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