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The Ideal Holiday Meal

How to serve (and savor) a festive, not-too-fattening feast

10 Strategies for Success continued...

2. When it's time to sit down to the holiday meal, first load up half your plate with any fruit, salad, or vegetable dishes being served.

3. Start the meal with a hot bowl of broth-based soup. It will help fill your belly for very few calories.

4. Salads that are already dressed can be blotted with a napkin to remove excess dressing.

5. You can enjoy your favorite fattening foods -- just be sure to keep your portions small. Remember that the first few bites taste the best, anyway.

6. Save room for a small portion of dessert. A few bites of pie or cake or a few small cookies make a sweet finale to a perfect holiday meal.

7. Eat slowly and savor each bite. This way, you'll get the taste you're looking for without overdoing it.

8. If you drink alcoholic beverages, alternate them with zero-calorie drinks like water or seltzer with a lemon, lime, or orange slice.

9. Eggnog lovers beware; there are lots of calories in this holiday beverage. Enjoy a small glass of eggnog as your dessert, or dilute it with ice or low-fat milk.

10. Enjoy your delicious plate of food, but resist the urge to go back for seconds. Give your belly time to send the signal to your brain that you're full.

You really can have your cake and eat it, too, as long as you follow these guidelines. And if you do overindulge, no problem; just get right back on track the next day!

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Reviewed on December 15, 2005

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