Redbook's Holiday Cocktail Party Diet
With our smart just-for-the-holidays strategies, you can indulge now without regretting it later.
By Nicole De Coursy
Cocktail parties, endless office goodies and gift boxes of chocolate truffles –
it's hard to keep your weight steady during the holidays when every day seems
like a party. But you can enjoy your seasonal favorites and still fit in your
skinny jeans after the last glass is raised. The key to not packing on pounds
this time of year is creating an overall eating plan, says Katherine Tallmadge,
R.D., author of Diet Simple and a Washington D.C.-based spokesperson for the
American Dietetic Association. It may be as simple as prioritizing when and
where you get your pigs-in-blankets fix. "Figure out which party is most likely
to offer the best treats and indulge there," Tallmadge says. "If you let
yourself go to town at one or two parties, it will be easier to hold back at
other events." What other strategies will let you savor your favorite party
foods without paying the bigger-pants price later? Check out these surprising
(and painless) do's from top diet and nutrition experts.
Balance out your binges. The season is six weeks long -- so if most
of your shindigs go down in the first two weeks, let yourself eat whatever you
want during that period, then scale back until December 24th. That way, you can
enjoy a guilt-free holiday dinner, says Tallmadge. If your events are sprinkled
throughout the month, pick one party a week as the one where you splurge.
Don't stand near the hors d'oeuvres. "Take a few things, then go as
far away from them as possible so you're not tempted to pick from the platter,"
says Jackie Newgent, R.D., a New York-based nutritionist and chef.
Alternate indulgences. Have cheese at one party, but no dessert, then
switch it next time out, says Kathleen Daelemans, author of Getting Thin and
Loving Food. Doing so will keep you from going too nuts -- or saying no to nuts
Implement the 15-minute rule. Give yourself that much time before you
hit up the yummies; grab a nonalcoholic beverage (like sparkling water with a
lime twist) in the meantime to keep your hands busy. "People are usually
nervous at the beginning of an event, so they dive into the buffet table and
end up eating more," says Tallmadge.
Don't ban your favorites. "Decide which special foods you really want
and enjoy them, but skip the rest," says Daelemans. So if you love eggnog, have
a glass, but if you could take or leave gingerbread-man cookies, don't waste
your calories on them.
Make water your best friend. Tallmadge recommends not drinking on an
empty stomach and having two glasses of water for every glass of wine. "You
want to sip and savor your wine, and grab and gulp your water," she says.
Keep in-between meals low-calorie. Balance out party splurges with
über-healthy choices at other meals and on other days of the week,
says Daelemans. Make green salads with low-fat dressing for lunch and pick lean
meats (like chicken or pork) or broth-based or bean soups for dinner.
Oops, I Ate It Again! Whether you're whipping up a batch of cookies
or making frosting, it's hard not to sample here and there. "But you can end up
eating a whole dinner's worth of calories before you even sit down," says