Healthy Holiday Eating
The University of Michigan Health System gives these tips to help survive a holiday party:
l Stick to appetizers that help you meet the recommended food pyramid guideline of five or more servings of vegetables and fruits a day, such as crudités and antipasto.
l Choose the high-fiber selections on the buffet. Besides fruit and vegetables, choose hors d'oeuvres that contain whole grains and/or legumes.
l Limit high fat choices, such as fried chicken wings, miniature sausages, and most cheeses.
l To satiate your palate, contrast flavors and textures—crunchy, smooth, hot, cold, spicy.
l Try the following instead of the usual high-calorie holiday drinks at a cocktail party: Seltzer mixed with fruit juices; sparkling apple juice or apple cider; hot apple cider; flavored, calorie-free water; or low sodium vegetable juice.
Tricks to TryEat the best-for-you offerings first. For example, hot soup as a first course―especially when it's broth-based, not cream-based―can help you avoid eating too much during the main course.
Stand more than an arm's length away from munchies, like a bowl of nuts or chips, while you chat so you're not tempted to raise your hand to your mouth every few seconds.
Concentrate on your meal while you're eating it. Focus on chewing your food well and enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each item. Research shows that mealtime multitasking (whether at home or at a party) can make you pop mindless calories into your mouth. Of course, a dinner-party conversation is only natural, but try to set your food down until you're finished chatting so you are more aware of what you're taking in.
Use smaller plates and serving utensils. Try a salad or dessert plate for the main course and a teaspoon to serve yourself. What looks like a normal portion on a 12-inch plate or a troughlike bowl can, in fact, be sinfully huge. In one study conducted at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, even nutrition experts served themselves 31 percent more ice cream when using oversize bowls compared with smaller bowls. The size of the serving utensil mattered, too: Subjects served themselves 57 percent more when they used a three-ounce scoop versus a smaller scoop.
Pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses, not the fat, wide kind. Other studies at Cornell have shown that people are more likely to pour 30 percent more liquid into squatter vessels.