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Holiday Parties: Strategies to Avoid Overeating

Updated on March 12, 2011

The best time to start thinking about how to deal with holiday weight gain is at the beginning of the holiday season. If you plan ahead, you may be able to make smart decisions that can keep you from ending up with as many extra plans to try to whittle off once the festivities are finished. By going into the rounds of holiday parties and family get-togethers with a plan of attack, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the temptation of the buffet table.

1. Eat Wisely on the Day of the Party

Don’t make the mistake of starving yourself all day to “save up” so that you can eat at the party. It’s much more likely that you’ll overeat at holiday parties if you are starving when you arrive. Instead of going without food all day before a big holiday event, eat a light, healthy lunch and have a small snack before you leave for the party. You’ll be in much better shape to avoid overindulging at the party.

2. Make Smart Holiday Party Food Choices

When you arrive at a holiday party, take a look at all the food choices that are available before you start eating. If you reach for the first snacks that you see, you may find yourself starting out with sugary snacks made with refined carbohydrates that will make you even more hungry than you already are rather than starting to fill you up. See what’s available and start out with the options that are most likely to help keep you from overeating. Look for raw vegetables, meat dishes and other filling selections before you turn to the sugary treats.

3. Bring a Dish to Share

It’s not uncommon to arrive at a holiday party to find that there’s nothing on the buffet table or menu that isn’t packed with empty calories. To avoid falling into that trap, get in the habit of showing up to parties where there will be a spread of snack food with a contribution or two of your own. For example, bring a dip made with low fat sour cream or cream cheese and vegetable sticks or healthy whole grain crackers (like Doctor Kracker). That way, there will be at least one dish that you can count on to be appropriate for your healthy eating goals.

4. Enjoy Holiday Treats in Moderation

You don’t have to completely avoid every holiday treat throughout the season as long as you practice moderation. Indulge in the goodies that you truly covet, but limit yourself to a moderate amount. Don’t hang out around the dessert table, because it’s too easy to overindulge if there are goodies within an easy arm’s reach. Take a reasonable portion, walk away from the table and savoir your treat slowly. Remember not to reach for your favorite indulgence when you’re starving so that and don’t keep going back for more.


Submit a Comment
  • pmccray profile image


    8 years ago from Utah

    Excellent eating tips. I'm soo guilty of #1, but not this year. Happy Holidays to you and yours


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