There's always a flurry of articles around the holidays citing scary statistics on holiday weight gain. But if you're like me, any party, no matter what time of year, can be a challenging food situation. Here are a few of my best party food tips. I hope they will help you as much as they help me.
DO eat a healthy meal before going to a party, so you aren't tempted to binge on the rich and high-calorie party treats.
DON'T position yourself near the buffet table, lest you find yourself unconsciously grazing.
DO take a small plate and make good choices (crudite is good for you, but that high-fat dip isn't!). Eat slowly so you aren't tempted to immediately return for more.
DON'T make a production of your health-conscious decisions. You may make others uncomfortable if you are vocal about how bad for you most party food is!
DO think about bringing something to share. This is a trick I picked up from my vegetarian friends, who know that bringing something to a party guarantees there'll be at least one thing there they can eat! Just be sure to check with the host or hostess first, as you don't want them to feel offended.
DON'T forget to give appropriate compliments on the items you enjoy. Your remarks should be specific, but should definitely not reference your weight watching. Say, "Sarah, the salsa on the veggie plate is fantastic! Is it homemade?", not "Sarah, the salsa on the veggie plate is fantastic. Plus it was SUCH a relief that there was something there I could eat!"
DO make sure you have a drink in your hand. Club soda has gotten me through many a social occasion, when I didn't want to deal with the calories of alcoholic beverages. (Double bonus: since most of us aren't coordinated enough to juggle both a drink and a small plate at a cocktail party, you'll eat that much less.)
DON'T drink to excess-- this is a bad idea both calorically and otherwise. It's common sense, but something too many of us are inclined to disregard when we're in a festive mood.
DO enjoy yourself and have a great time!
Other Resources (these are good year-round, not just at the holidays!):
Walking.about.com How far you must walk to burn off calories from various holiday foods.
Weightloss.about.com Top 5 tips for avoiding holiday weight gain.
Weight Watchers tips on recovering from post-holiday gain.