Tips On How to Eat Smarter During the Holidays

By Shana Suzuki, Nutritionist

First, accept that you’re probably not going to lose any weight during the holidays. A lot of people plan to start their diet in the new year and use it as a reason to eat all they want during the holiday season. My suggestion is to watch what you eat during the holidays so you don’t have as much weight to lose in the first place. It’s not so much what you’re eating on special occasions that is going to prevent you from losing weight, it’s what you do every day.

If you know you’re going to a holiday party and you’re not going to want to limit what you eat at the party, make an effort earlier in the day to eat lower calorie, less-salty foods. Buy and prepare fresh foods rather than eating prepackaged, ready-to-eat food, because when you cook, you control how much salt, fat and sugar you add to the dishes. Realistically, if you’re sitting at a party, there’s no way you’re going to say to yourself, I already had a piece of cake, maybe I shouldn’t go back and have that brownie too.

I recommend serving yourself smaller portions of high-calorie foods such as desserts and deep-fried items. For desserts, instead of cutting them into 1or 2-inch squares cut them into half-inch squares. That way everybody can get a sampling of the dessert items and not be overstuffed. A lot of restaurants have started doing little dessert shots because people don’t want the huge 1,500-calorie dessert when they’ve already eaten a high-fat, high calorie meal.

Smaller plates are a good way of watching what you eat. I like the compartment plates because you can control what food goes where. With the higher calorie items like starches and high-fat meats or casseroles, you can use the smaller compartment and then put your salads not macaroni or potato salad in the larger compartment. That way you fill up on lower-calorie items like salad, vegetables and fruit and you still get to have all of your favorite foods, just in smaller servings.

Lastly, when you go to buffets or parties, a lot of us sit around the food and eat. It’s really hard to stop eating when you’re looking at food, so I suggest that you serve yourself your portion and walk away from the food table to eat. You can always come back to the table later if you’re still hungry. The faster you eat or the more you look at the food, the more you’re going to tend to overeat, so make it easier on yourself and walk away from the food table.