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Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

The holiday season is upon us with holiday parties around almost every turn.  This time of year can be challenge, not only to our stress levels, but to our waistlines as well.  Even the best intentions can take a downward spiral with decadent food, tempting desserts, and flowing beverages. Follow these simple pre-party tips and tricks and keep your dietary habits on track.

One of the easiest ways to keep your diet on track is to plan ahead and “save” your calories for the party foods. One or two days before your party, start cleaning up your eating and “bank” your calories for the party. Try to shave 50 – 100 calories per meal such as omitting creamer in your coffee, omit cheese on your sandwich, avoid dessert, and stay away from alcoholic beverages. Another option is to avoid carbohydrates a few days before the party because you will most likely be tempted with simple carbs at the holiday party. Have a large veggie loaded salad for dinner or only fill your plate with lean protein and vegetables at lunch and dinner.

Another pre-party solution to keep your diet on track is to eat something healthy before you go to the party. Eat a small salad, serving of vegetables, or a few ounces of lean protein one hour before leaving.  The fiber and protein will keep you fuller and hopefully make you less likely to binge eat.  Also drink plenty of water the day of your party because dehydration can often resemble hunger.  Drink a glass of water and, wait 20 minutes, and see if you are still hungry.  If you are not hungry after 20 minutes, you were most likely dehydrated. 

My final few tips include pre-party exercise and what you wear to the party.  When it comes to burning calories, every little bit counts!  Take every flight of stairs you come across, go for a quick walk at lunch, or do a few sets of squat or lunges at home before you leave for the party. Exercise will increase your daily caloric deficit making those extra party calories less disastrous to your waistline.  As silly as this seems, I recommend wearing a form fitting outfit to the party.  Loose clothing tends to make us feel less guilty about binge eating; don’t we all wear sweatpants on thanksgiving?  A tighter outfit may inspire you to eat a little less and stick to your healthy habits a little more.

Let’s face it, even the most dedicated can’t resist all those yummy holiday goodies. Plan ahead with all of these simple strategies and you’ll be thankful you did.

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