Best Bets on the Buffet
Making smart choices allows you to eat plenty of food, and not feel deprived. Here are my picks for the best and worst holiday food choices:
|Best Bets||Worst Bets|
|Crudities with salsa or low-fat dressing||Chips, creamy dips, anything fried|
|Pretzels, popcorn, baked chips||Cheese straws, fried snacks|
|Handful of plain nuts||Handful or more of candy or candied nuts|
|Fresh fruits and vegetables||Fried veggies, wings|
|Shrimp cocktail, clams, oysters, smoked salmon||Fried seafood|
|Low-fat cheeses on water crackers, low-fat crackers, or Melba toast||High-fat cheeses and crackers|
|Vegetable or broth-based soup||Cream soups or bisques|
|Baked sweet potatoes||Sweet potato casserole|
|Cranberry relish or gelatin salad||Cranberry sauce|
|Mashed potatoes with a dab of gravy, or a plain baked potato||Lots of gravy with your mashed potatoes or a loaded baked potato|
|White-meat turkey without skin||Dark-meat turkey with skin|
|Lean meats without visible fat||Processed meats, sausages, fatty meats|
|Simply prepared veggies||Veggies in cream sauces, casseroles, or topped with fried onions or cheese|
|Cornbread-, oyster- or fruit-based stuffing||Stuffing with sausage|
|Whole-wheat dinner rolls||Croissants|
|Pumpkin or mincemeat pie||Pecan pie with whipped cream|
|Fruit sorbet, sherbet, or frozen yogurt||Cake or ice cream|
|Apple cider, mimosa, or bloody Mary||Eggnog|
|Chocolate-dipped strawberries||Fruitcake or fudge|
My Personal Party Strategies
My goal is to be at a good weight before the holidays commence. Halloween is my official start date. If my weight is not satisfactory, I exercise more and swear off wine with dinner as well as all sweets and treats. All the extra Halloween candy is given away, and I keep temptations around the house to a minimum.
Over the years I have subscribed to a few basic rules whenever I go to a buffet or party:
- Always wear a snug-fitting outfit that does not easily expand. Carry a clutch bag that keeps one hand occupied.
- Eat a small but filling meal before leaving home, such as a bowl of soup or a vegetable salad, so I can resist the hors d'oeuvres.
- If I don't love it, I don't eat it. This is my golden rule at all times. I hate wasting food, but I hate extra pounds even more.
- No lingering around the buffet table, bar, or appetizer or dessert display.
- Limit cocktails to two, with sparkling water and lime rounding out the evening.
- Engage in mindful eating: make a plate of food, sit down, and enjoy. This helps me recognize when I'm full and means I'm less likely to mindlessly eat the rest of the evening.
- Follow the 80/20 rule and indulge -- but just a little, and no second helpings.