What would a party be without a buffet table loaded full of appetizers? Unfortunately, those cute little bites are often loaded with calories and fat, and it’s hard to keep track of how many you’re eating. There’s no reason not to enjoy some of the party offerings, but you to have a plan so you won’t end up eating a day’s worth of calories in a few hours. Who wants to spend six hours at the gym later trying to burn them off? Here’s how to choose healthy party foods and avoid overeating at holiday functions.
Don’t Starve Yourself Beforehand
Some people fast before a party that has food by skipping breakfast and lunch so they can indulge without guilt. Big mistake. Not only will this slow your metabolism down, but you’ll also be starving by the time you reach the buffet table and could do some serious calorie damage. Prepare before you arrive.
Eat a light breakfast and lunch that includes a source of lean protein and fiber-rich carbs. The protein and fiber satiate you and keep your metabolism primed. For breakfast, think eggs, fruit, and oatmeal. For lunch, a salad with lots of crunchy veggies and lean turkey or chicken strips.
Right before you go, eat a serving of a food with a high water content like soup or a salad to take the edge off your hunger. This will keep you from overeating at the party from sheer hunger.5 Ways to Avoid Overeating.
Healthy Party Foods: Choose Your Party Bites Wisely
Stay away from appetizers that contain too much cheese, cream cheese or are fried or “crispy.” Better choices are chopped fruit and veggies, shrimp cocktail, or chicken satay. Don’t dip your veggies too many times into those creamy dips. Look for salsa or hummus instead. Don’t feel compelled to try everything. Choose a few of the healthier items that appeal to you, and let the rest go. You’ll be glad you did after the party is over.
Fill Your Appetizer Plate Up Once
Choose a small plate to hold your appetizers, and fill it up only once. It’s easy to drift back to the buffet table again and again for refills. Distract yourself by talking to the people around you. If you feel the urge to keep eating after you’ve finished your plate, reach for a piece of sugar-free candy or mint to suck on. It’ll take the edge off your hunger.
It takes 20 minutes for satiety hormones such as leptin, CCK, and PPY to kick in and signal your brain that you’re full. Eat your appetizers at a leisurely pace while you catch up on stories with guests. Make that small plate of appetizers last for 30 minutes or more. By that time, your satiety hormones will have done their job, and you’ll feel full.
Watch the Alcohol
Calories that you sip count too. Stay away eggnog that’s laden with sugar and calories. If you drink alcohol, have a wine spritzer instead of higher calorie drinks containing alcohol. Even better, sip on club soda. The carbonation will curb your appetite so you’ll eat less.
There you have it – five ways to pick healthy party foods and avoid overeating at a holiday event that has food. The good news? You can still enjoy a party without overindulging. Make the right choices, and don’t arrive at any holiday event that offers food without eating something first.