5 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Party

December 06, 2016 6:00 AM
Animals eating healthy at a holiday party

Make a party plan so you can enjoy your favorite holiday-season treats and still feel healthy come Jan. 1.

The holidays are here — time for celebration.

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During this time of the year, many people often find themselves eating more than usual and ditching their pre-holiday diets and regular eating habits. But it is possible to enjoy all of your holiday parties and celebrations without giving up your healthy habits.

With the following tips, you can continue to eat healthfully all month long.

Eat before you go.

While it may be tempting to go all day without eating to save up calories for the event, you may be so hungry that you end up overeating. Try having a small, lower-calorie snack of string cheese, nuts and crackers, for example, to help curb your appetite and keep you from overeating while at the party.

Don’t stand near the buffet.

Sweets and treats are usually hard to resist when they are right in front of you on the buffet line. Choose a few items from the table and then walk away so you aren’t tempted to go back for more. Along with a few of your favorites, opt for some healthy options such as fruit, veggies or nuts to help balance out your plate.

Use a smaller plate.

The bigger the plate, the more people tend to eat. With a smaller plate, you won’t be able to put as much food on it, meaning fewer calories and less fat consumed. Try opting for a small salad plate rather than a large dinner plate at your next holiday gathering and consider making only one trip to the buffet table.

SEE ALSO: What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Exercising?

Take your time to eat.

When you have a plate in front of you full of traditional holiday foods, it is sometimes hard to stop yourself from eating everything quickly. The problem with this, however, is that eating too quickly delays the signal from the brain telling you that you are full. When the signal is not received, often the result is overeating. Consider putting down your fork and talking with others between bites to slow yourself down.

Pay attention to beverages.

Often, people forget that holiday cocktails and other alcoholic drinks can contain many empty calories. Try limiting your alcoholic beverage intake to one to two beverages per night out to reduce your caloric intake this season.

For more information on how to stay healthy all through the holidays, please visit U-M’s Patient Food and Nutrition Services online.