A Girl’s Guide to Holiday Party Eating

If you’re like this social, party-going dietitian, you are likely at a holiday party, family gathering or co-worker function almost every night until Christmas! FINALLY! And quite frankly you might just keep the trend going into New Year’s too. This is a time of year to celebrate, splurge some and enjoy your family and friends, but if you “party” it up too much, you might be going up in something out else too, namely pounds and waist sizes. 

Most women note they have to start paying more attention to what they eat and drink as they get older. If you still live in the “18-24” age range, it may not be so hard!  However, migrate to 25-34, 35-44 (like I am!) and 45+ and it just gets harder and harder to maintain weight, party or no party. It’s a wicked reality, I know, but it’s true. Now, it’s not to say that you cannot enjoy your favorite “this” or “that”, but if you are going to do it every night, you have to watch it, or it will add up! So, hooray for days and time with the ones you love, but let’s get your party planning necessities in check with these 5 things: 

  1. Eat sister eat! – Don’t skip meals all day leading up to your party! All that does is set you up to be starving when you get there and likely overeat! No one eats rationally when they feel like they could eat their arm off. So, eat small meals during the day that are protein-rich as that will help you feel full faster and stay full longer. Eat a snack a little before you go so you don’t want to devour the party buffet upon arrival. If you are looking for a way to burn a few extra calories that day, do a little more cardio at the gym that morning providing a buffer for your favorite goodie!
  2. Use the small plate – By nature of the small plate, you will eat less as you can only put so much food on it. When you’re at parties, eat on the dessert-size plate. Even if you choose the highest calorie items, you will eat less than if you had a large plate full of those same items.  The key is eat your small plate of food, mingle for 15-20 minutes, then see if you are still hungry and go back for seconds if so.   
  3. Watch out where you stand – This one is as easy as can be. Don’t stand by the food table!  If you stand near it, you can touch it, which means you can pick food off of it. Move away from the table and you will take in less calories just by limiting your access to food. This takes no will power, just awareness.
  4. Sip, hydrate, repeat – Holiday cocktails. Enough said. This trips people up every time, at every party. Alcohol has a good amount of calories in it, especially when mixed with fruity or creamy beverages. Plus, as a double whammy, you care less about what you eat the more you drink, which will likely cause an increase in caloric consumption. So, sip on your favorite cocktail and then insert water to hydrate. Alternating between alcohol and water will slow down how much you drink and help you feel not as terrible the next morning. 
  5. Bring something semi-healthy – There will be plenty of goodies and sweet treats at every party you go to, trust me. Bust out and be different and bring something semi-healthy. If you want to go all out and bring a veggie or fruit platter, then great! That adds color and flavor for very little calories. Other things that are less obvious are bringing a healthy dip like hummus or guacamole or simply change a recipe to make it healthier and lower in calories.