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Calorie Count Blog

How to Cheat a Little, Not a Lot, at the Holiday Party


By +Carolyn Richardson on Dec 14, 2010 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

By Carolyn Richardson

It’s that time of year when companies go out of their way to sabotage your healthy nutrition plans.  The annual holiday party almost never involves a focus on healthy food and drink, so we all need a refresher on denying eating every item served at this free for all feast.  We have all heard the adage everything in moderation, but a good holiday party defense for overeating, or shall we say over-cheating, has to be specific to be effective.  Put on your warrior hats boys and girls: we can survive the biggest temptation the rest of this year has to offer.

Big Spoon, Little Spoon

Use a big spoon to eat the foods that will make you full, and the little
spoon for the delectable ones that will only please your taste buds.  Big
spoon vegetables, meat dishes, and fruit salads.  Little spoon macaroni and
cheese and dressing, as well as any sauces like cranberry sauce and gravy.

Make One Plate Enough

While most will treat the holiday party as a buffet, do not go for seconds.
While there is no scientific research to back this, I can personally say
that the second plate is always filled with the less healthy faire that I
cannot get enough of and has absolutely nothing to do with my hunger.  Use
the time that everyone is standing in line for seconds to mingle and
socialize.  Ask for a mineral water at the bar with a hint of fruit in it
and make like your drinking.  One plate is enough any other day.

Eat Now, Drink Later

The college student in you knows this rule, but as an adult you may have
forgotten that to keep you from drinking too much, and to assure you stay
hydrated and sober, eat first, and drink later.  The UK’s Food Agency
website, gives some practical tips for controlling how much you drink which include avoiding salty snacks like chips and salted nuts and adding water and
non-alcoholic drinks throughout the evening.

Desert the Dessert Table

Give yourself a cut off for sampling desserts.  I did say sampling.  When it
comes to desserts, do not get a full serving of any of the desserts that are
high in sugars and low in nutritional value, rather sample a few small
slivers of each one and cut off revisiting once you have had a taste of each
one.  This will be hard as you see your co-worker going for his third piece
of pie, but the mirror and the way your body feels will be thanks enough
come the next morning.

The Countdown

Prior to the party, consciously plan to leave at a certain time.  As the
party is winding down, it’s easy to let boredom invite you to enjoy another
plate.  And quite honestly, after 3-4 hours in one place, you may genuinely
have a corner of your stomach that would like to eat.  Avoid this by
planning to leave before this happens.  Most, if not all of these people
will be at work the next business day, there’s no reason to be the last
person there.


Your thoughts....

How do you eat a little - not a lot - around the holidays?



Comments


When we had our potluck luncheon at work before Thanksgiving, it helped so much to just be conscious of choosing very small portions of the lower calorie items. I still ate many things I love like dressing but not much, and it was moist so I left off the gravy. I skipped the potato salad, mac and cheese (I can have it another time), and creamy hashbrown casserole I took (I can eat it anytime). I ate 2 servings of white meat turkey to fill up. I felt so much better than usual. I wasn't stuffed!! I chose to skip the desserts and finally was talked into trying the chocolate cake by a friend? so I cut one small bite and got lots of praise from the coworkers around me who wished they hadn't eaten so much. That night when I tried to estimate on caloriecount.com how many calories I had eaten, I was amazed!! It was less than 900. I had skipped breakfast in anticipation of the potluck. I didn't get my calories in for lunch until 9pm, and I was waiting to eat anything for supper until I knew how I done at lunch. So by then I just decided to go to bed without eating anything else too late and getting indigestion. I'd had a really fast walk on the inside track at the gym late in the afternoon, and then had so much energy when I got home, I finished cleaning out my closet while my husband ate the tuna salad he had fixed himself. He didn't mind coming up with his own supper because he knew I was at the gym, and he's proud of me. So, I had a LOW CALORIE DAY when we had the potluck. I was so proud. It helps me to tell myself, "I can eat that if I want to and choose to, but I'll choose not to this time, and I can have it another time if I want to. This is not the last chance I'll have." I have lost 18.5 lbs of my goal to lose at least 70 and maybe 100 lbs.



lynne_ot -- Thank you for sharing that with us!!! You just inspired me so much and gave me confidence that I will be able to do just as well this holiday season! I don't celebrate Christmas, and Hanukkah is over, so I don't have to anticipate any temptations like that. I am, however, visiting my family and friends in Israel for two weeks, and I am terrified of gaining weight -- or I WAS terrified until I read your post and realized that I could do that, too! It's always difficult because first there is all of my favorite childhood treats from Israel that I always want to have while we're there; all the chocolates and snacks and bakery items. Then there's my grandmother's cooking which is brilliant and delicious and besides she is a bit of a food pusher. Last but not least, I know we will have a trip to get Falafel, a trip to go "wipe hummus", maybe a Shawarma trip, and I know I will want bourekas...

So there is a lot of temptation, but I'm going to just remember that I can have just a taste of everything and eat healthy otherwise! 

So again thanks for that post, it was really motivating for me and I feel like I can definitely handle my situation and still enjoy by break!



Some great ideas! I especially like the spoon one, thank you.



Today at work we are being treated to TGIFs for lunch.    Luckily, we were given a menu beforehand of our choices and I was able to look up the items online.    Peanut Butter pie is 870 calories a serving.  It's just a little piece of pie!   (Heh, makes a McDouble look good.)  Anyways, being conscious of the calories is half the battle.  Good Luck people!



I don't understand the spoon thing. I don't eat with a spoon unless I'm eating soup. And I don't think having a big fork/little fork is going to change much. Unless you meant to say use a big spoon to serve yourself healthy food, and a small spoon to serve yourself less healthy food. That would make more sense.

But at the end of it all, as long as you are counting all your calories (including drinks) and stay within your calorie boundaries, I don't see there ever being a problem.

If there is something I really want to eat at a party, I will eat some of it, and count the calories. And if there is something that I can have any time of the year, or I don't feel like eating it I won't eat it. I don't care how much people will try to push it on me or guilt me into it. I don't feel guilty not eating something if I don't want to eat it. That's just crazy. If someone feels bad/sad that I didn't try their chocolate cake, then that is their problem, not mine. And maybe they should go to therapy and find out what is really bothering them instead of the fact that I didn't want to eat their food.



Original Post by: mewlkitten

I don't understand the spoon thing. I don't eat with a spoon unless I'm eating soup. And I don't think having a big fork/little fork is going to change much. Unless you meant to say use a big spoon to serve yourself healthy food, and a small spoon to serve yourself less healthy food. That would make more sense.

But at the end of it all, as long as you are counting all your calories (including drinks) and stay within your calorie boundaries, I don't see there ever being a problem.

If there is something I really want to eat at a party, I will eat some of it, and count the calories. And if there is something that I can have any time of the year, or I don't feel like eating it I won't eat it. I don't care how much people will try to push it on me or guilt me into it. I don't feel guilty not eating something if I don't want to eat it. That's just crazy. If someone feels bad/sad that I didn't try their chocolate cake, then that is their problem, not mine. And maybe they should go to therapy and find out what is really bothering them instead of the fact that I didn't want to eat their food.


Mewlkitchen I'm referring to the serving spoons versus the smaller individual spoons.  The point is to use your smaller spoon(that you have yet to eat with of course) to get a sampling of those items, as oppose to using the serving spoon, which will guarantee at least a serving size of the no-no foods.  Enjoy your holiday party! 



Original Post by: lynne_ot

When we had our potluck luncheon at work before Thanksgiving, it helped so much to just be conscious of choosing very small portions of the lower calorie items. I still ate many things I love like dressing but not much, and it was moist so I left off the gravy. I skipped the potato salad, mac and cheese (I can have it another time), and creamy hashbrown casserole I took (I can eat it anytime). I ate 2 servings of white meat turkey to fill up. I felt so much better than usual. I wasn't stuffed!! I chose to skip the desserts and finally was talked into trying the chocolate cake by a friend? so I cut one small bite and got lots of praise from the coworkers around me who wished they hadn't eaten so much. That night when I tried to estimate on caloriecount.com how many calories I had eaten, I was amazed!! It was less than 900. I had skipped breakfast in anticipation of the potluck. I didn't get my calories in for lunch until 9pm, and I was waiting to eat anything for supper until I knew how I done at lunch. So by then I just decided to go to bed without eating anything else too late and getting indigestion. I'd had a really fast walk on the inside track at the gym late in the afternoon, and then had so much energy when I got home, I finished cleaning out my closet while my husband ate the tuna salad he had fixed himself. He didn't mind coming up with his own supper because he knew I was at the gym, and he's proud of me. So, I had a LOW CALORIE DAY when we had the potluck. I was so proud. It helps me to tell myself, "I can eat that if I want to and choose to, but I'll choose not to this time, and I can have it another time if I want to. This is not the last chance I'll have." I have lost 18.5 lbs of my goal to lose at least 70 and maybe 100 lbs.


Lynne_Ot - you've added another tip!  While skipping breakfast shouldn't be a normal occurrence, knowing that three hours later you'll be pigging out, skipping breakfast is super smart.  You did well!  Keep on keeping on, you'll have less to work off after the new year!



great article.....made me laugh!



Great tips!



Eat before you go to the party is the best tip. Eat something with protein and fibre and if you have a strong bladder drink 1/2 litre of water or herbal tea along with your protein + fibre mini meal. This will make you full and less likely to gorge at the party! http://fullbodytransformation.wordpress.com/



healthy faire s/b healthy fare

as oppose s/b as opposed

make like your drinking s/b make like you're drinking

Are these oversights or is this the way people think these are written? I loose confidence in information that is presented with gramatical or spelling errors.



I thought the sampling desserts tip was the best.  I will never understand how we as Americans can eat a full meal, then toss down a full serving of dessert afterward.  I always drool over the dessert menu, but never have room.  This tends to be at mid-tier restaurants, where the dessert portions are huge.  I prefer what they do at 4-5 -star restaurants--provide tiny portions of very rich-tasting desserts, usually pastries, along with coffee.  When I'm at parties, I arrange my tiny portions of dessert on my plate so they look sort of pretty, like the high-tier restaurants', and fill up on coffee in between bites.  This way you're getting the rich taste and your plate looks good.  Odds are you're not eating sloppily because your plate isn't overloaded, and won't be all smeared with frosting. 

As for the regular food, though....  There are some savory potluck dishes that I rarely get BECAUSE they're fattening (therefore I never cook them myself).  These crop up around the holidays.  Since I *only* get them around the holidays, I just go to town and stop when I'm full.  Really, if we spend every bloody party worrying about exact portion sizes or what we shouldn't eat for all the different courses, that's a whole lot of worrying.  I say this almost every post, and I'll say it again: It's called a spin class, people.  Do it, and you can HAVE that heaping ladle-full of home-baked mac and cheese. 



Original Post by: dorfvail

healthy faire s/b healthy fare

as oppose s/b as opposed

make like your drinking s/b make like you're drinking

Are these oversights or is this the way people think these are written? I loose confidence in information that is presented with gramatical or spelling errors.


Ha!   "Loose confidence"....



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