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Healthy tips for busy people. Get the skinny. Start feeling better.

How to Survive the Holiday Party

How to Survive the Holiday Party

by Becca Brannan, RN - November 25, 2013

It is that time of year again… are visions of sugarplums dancing in your head, too? With all the holiday parties looming in the near future, you may feel like it will be impossible to eat healthy during the holiday season. But, it can be accomplished.

Here are a few tips to guide you through the myriad of cakes, cookies, pies and dips that notoriously, and deliciously, load down the holiday buffet.

Eat Regularly

It may sound like a good idea at the time, but skipping meals to “save up calories” for later is not the healthiest choice. It could possibly turn you into a raving, dessert-eating machine at the buffet table. When you employ this strategy, you often end up eating way more calories than the ones you skipped earlier in the day.

If you know you have a big event coming up, make healthy food choices in the days leading up to the party. This will help you not feel as bad about indulging in a few of your favorite dishes.

Be Choosy

Be picky on the unhealthy items. Don’t waste calories on things you can eat year-round, save the calories for that special dish you wait for all year long! You can help yourself with your healthy eating goal by bringing a low-fat, low-calorie delicious dish to the event. There will assuredly be other health conscious party-goers that will appreciate the offering.

Step away from that table!

Sitting or standing near the buffet table will not help you at all. It seems to have a magic force that pulls you in— making it easier to go back for seconds, and thirds. Fix your plate and head out to another area of the party to mingle with your family, friends or coworkers.

Moderation, moderation, moderation

Did I say moderation? Don’t deny yourself something that you really want, because this will only worsen your visions of sugarplums, red velvet cake, pecan pie, pound cake and triple-cheese queso. As previously mentioned, be choosy and eat the specialties you wait for all year long, just don’t treat yourself to the whole cake. Be conscious of portion sizes. Using a smaller plate can help you spoon out smaller portions.

Another area of the party to practice moderation is the bar. Liquid calories do not satisfy hunger pangs, so it is easy to rack up the calories with punch, chocolaty drinks, eggnog and sugar-laden alcoholic beverages.


If you are playing host, plan fun non-eating activities like a flag football game, charades, karaoke or break out your favorite board game. This will get your guests moving and off the couch and help them digest their party treats.

Make memories that last for years. You can gather next year and laugh about what you did this year. Remember laughing burns calories and is good for the soul! Some healthcare professionals may even tell you laughter is good medicine.

Most importantly, remember to forgive yourself. The holiday season is the toughest time of the year to start or to maintain healthy habits. If you over indulge one day, get back on track the next day. Remember moderation is the key and small changes do add up. And, don’t forget to move! Exercising can help get rid of those extra calories, reduce your holiday stress and give you increased energy.


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