Tis the holiday season to be jolly, but alas all the food will wreck your diet! This is the bane of yo-yoing between a healthy diet and a healthy social life this season. During the day you have spent hours on sculpting your body, but at night you find yourself scrutinising from the corner of your eyes a lavish spread of fattening appetisers, luscious cocktails and yummy cookies at a holiday party. It seems almost impossible to eat clean at a social gathering that is replete with food and overflowing with alcohol.
Worried that the upcoming parties this holiday season will ruin your hard-earned efforts at weight loss? Worry not! Here are some healthy eating strategies with the right approach that will help you in maintaining the perfect balance between enjoying your holiday parties and keeping yourself full without feeling guilty.
Q. How smart is it to skip dinner if you are heading to a holiday party, which you know will be brimming over with food and bubblies?
A. It is strongly recommended never go to any party on a hungry stomach. Arriving at a lunch or dinner party on an empty stomach is almost a disaster. During the day have regular meals; do not skip lunch and breakfast. Prior to the party, have a snack with complex carbohydrates and protein, such as a green smoothie blended with fruit and yoghurt, or a hard-boiled egg with a few whole-grain crackers. This will take off the edge before you arrive at the party and will help you to control the consumption of calories. When you arrive at the party, begin the night with a non-alcoholic beverage and then gradually proceed to your choice of alcoholic beverage. Remember to stay hydrated throughout the night by drinking as much water as possible, either individually or with the alcoholic beverage; this can help you in curbing additional calories and staying focused.
Q. Almost every party food is packed with saturated fat and carbohydrates. It is almost impossible to zero in on a healthy protein at a holiday party. What do I do?
A. Look out for low-fat options such as prawn, eggs, lean beef, poultry, or beans. Have these options as they contain much more protein and stay away from refined carbohydrates such as deep-fried spring rolls, cookies or crackers. As far as possible keep away from foods that are smothered in fatty sauces, or foods that contain processed meats, cold cuts, fatty meats or hotdogs.
Q. What vegetable options must I opt for that will help in in bulking up on fibre, without the additional baggage of added fat?
A. Good choices these days that are free of fat-toppings include fresh vegetable salads and fresh fruit platters. Not only are these options safe to consume and healthy but also contain high water content and good amount of fibre. Continue to nibble on these fresh food options throughout the party in order to increase your satiety and prevent you from bingeing on unhealthy foods.
Q. What are the calorie traps that I must be prepared to avoid? There are number of dishes that appear decent but may actually be bad in the long run. How do I avoid such traps?
Vegetable and meat salads blended with high-fat toppings such as full fat sour cream or cheese must be avoided as they are not only high in calories but are swimming in saturated and unhealthy fat. Any dish that is called casserole must also be avoided as you might not be aware of the amounts of sodium and fat that have gone into it. Among appetiser choices, pick out guacamole or nuts, but rather in a small portion, as it could contain high fat amounts, although much more healthier than the other processed appetiser options available at your disposal.