By Zonya Foco
Family get-togethers, neighborhood parties, work celebrations: eat, drink, eat, drink, eat, eat, eat. It seems that all parties revolve around FOOD!
And typically, party fare isn’t necessarily healthy fare. But even the busiest "Party Animals" can survive without disaster if these simple party survival tips are followed:
Eat a light breakfast and lunch to save up a few extra calories to spend at the party. However, do NOT arrive at the party overly hungry either! In fact, eating a small snack before you go is a good idea.
Include exercise before you go
Let’s face it, parties generally mean a few more calories than you usually eat. Overindulge on a day you don’t exercise and together the two can add up! To prevent this from happening, be sure to exercise before you go.
Search out REAL FOOD
As your eyes venture down the festive buffet, search out and load up on REAL FOOD, like vegetables, fruit, hummus, nuts, salads, and chicken kabobs. Also look for grainy crackers or pita bread, plus a cube or two of authentic cheese. Skip the green cool-whip jello "salad" (it’s not real food). Don’t fall into the "I have to try some of everything" trap. If something looks overly processed or full of refined sugars or empty white calories, just pass it by. Foods with fiber, nutrients, and minimal added sugars and sodium are the ones that will satiate you and help you avoid the regretful food coma.
Use a plate
One thing that puts on weight is eating more than you're aware of. Anytime you nibble on things directly from the bowl, you can end up eating more than if you put all the food on a plate. Therefore, create a healthful boundary for yourself: Everything goes on a plate. Make it a small plate for even better results!
P.S. There's freedom within boundaries.
Save room for dessert
Since sweets are what the holidays are all about, are you wise to eat your usual amount (or more) for dinner, then add a dessert (or two or more) on top of that? No! Think through now how will you "make room" to indulge in dessert. Perhaps skip items like the buttery crackers, chips or other forgettable appetizers to make room for it. Or have only one cocktail (or no cocktail at all). Yes, checks and balances are the key!
Halve it and you can have it!
When faced with an assortment of tempting treats, think, "Halve it and you can have it." This strategy works anytime, anywhere, and will keep you from feeling deprived while halving the calories you would normally eat.
Avoid drinking all your calories
"But I hardly ate a thing all holiday season! How did I gain weight?"
Think before you drink:
• Egg Nog (4 oz.): 355 calories
• Wine (3 oz.): 85 calories
• Beer, regular (12 oz.): 150 calories
• Beer, light (12 oz.): 100 calories
• Cider (12 oz.): 180 calories
• Fruit punch (12 oz.): 180 calories
• Piña colada (6 oz.): 325 calories
Opt for: Club soda or sparkling water to dilute punch or fruit juice; mineral water, low-calorie soda or diet tonic water. Or better yet, add a slice of lemon or lime to a refreshing glass of pure water!
Keep your focus away from the food
While good food is certainly an important part of an enjoyable party, be sure you keep it in perspective. Appreciate the other great things: Socializing, the beautiful decorations, music, games and activities.
Stop eating early
Even if you stay late, decide when you will quit eating and do just that: Quit eating. This strategy can do wonders to prevent that continuous "just because it's there" munching, saving you hundreds of calories.
No matter what, stay positive
Even if you did overdo it at the party, keep things in perspective. You do not need to be "perfect" all the time, and one event does not make you an overweight person or give you high cholesterol. Say, "It's no big deal," and start your next day back on your healthy fitness regime.
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