Eating Light for the Holidays

Making it through the holidays without putting on extra pounds can be tough.

Holiday Meal Photo

Holiday Meal Photo

Imagine that you're at a holiday dinner or party and the hostess offers you a slice of dessert that's luscious and calorie-laden.

You know the sweet treat will put a roadblock on your path to healthy holiday eating, but she's been talking about this dessert for weeks, and…well, it does look pretty tasty. So what should you do?

Making it through the holidays without putting on extra pounds can be tough. After all, appetizer-filled get-togethers and glorious dinner gatherings abound. And who can ignore all of those festive foods that only come around this time of year?

If you're in charge of making or bringing a dish to pass, you can choose a lighter option (such as one of the recipes shown in the photo above right). But if you're just a guest, consider a few of the following tips when celebrating the holidays. You'll satisfy your appetite, your hostess and the promise you made to yourself to not overindulge this season.

Party Pointers

Some people say you should never go grocery shopping when you're hungry. This advice applies equally well when you're attending parties. Having something in your stomach makes you less apt to beeline for the party's buffet table, so snack on a handful of pretzels or a piece of fruit before leaving your house.

You might also want to bring along a nutritious dish—a variety of vegetables and fat-free dip, for example. Not only will your host appreciate the thought, but you'll know there's something low in fat to munch on at the party.

When it's time to mosey over to the buffet, scan the entire table first, identifying the healthiest options. Avoid deep-fried appetizers that may be bite-size but are sure to pack a fat-laden punch…and look for fruit and veggie platters.

Other good choices include shrimp, smoked salmon, wheat or rye crackers, and baked tortilla chips with salsa. If there is a platter of cold cuts, skip the cheese and sausages and think turkey or chicken instead.

Once you've decided what to sample, grab a cocktail napkin rather than a plate. You'll be less tempted to try the various finger foods if you don't have a convenient place to hold them all.

Don't linger around the buffet. Take a few items from the table, move on and mingle. The more you talk with other guests, the less likely you are to overeat.