Eating healthy isn’t all that difficult when you’re in charge of the cooking at home. But during the holiday season where parties and buffets are seemingly endless, it can be hard to stick to your healthy eating habits. However, with a few simple tips, you can get through the holiday buffet season without jeopardizing your health (or your waistline).
Bring Your Own Dish
Many holiday parties ask partygoers to bring a favorite dish to add to the buffet. Instead of making yet another dessert or bowl of mashed potatoes, bring one of your favorite low-fat, healthy dishes. A vegetable dish or a fish dish such as this Tilapia with Chimichurri Sauce recipe will keep your health on track, and you’re sure to be thanked by other partygoers who are trying to stay healthy as well.
Look for Lean Protein
Many holiday buffets center around heavy, fatty proteins like beef or pork. To cut back on the fat and calories, avoid these dishes and look for lean sources of protein instead. Lean proteins are foods that are rich in protein, while also being low in fat. They help keep you feeling full for longer, which in turn helps prevent you from reaching for that extra dessert you know you shouldn’t have. Keep an eye out for fish on the buffet table—a buffet favorite due to its versatility, its high lean protein content and its mild flavor.
Eat Something at Home First
Before heading out to a holiday buffet, eat a light, healthy meal at home so you’re not tempted to fill up on junk foods at the buffet. If you’re already full from a low-fat, homemade meal it will be far easier for you to pass over the heavy entrees on the buffet table. While you may be tempted to skip breakfast or lunch in order to save up your calories for the buffet, this often just causes you to be so hungry by the time dinner rolls around that you eat way more than you had planned.
Avoid the Alcohol
While it’s nice to have a glass of wine with dinner, avoid drinking more than one alcoholic beverage. They’re usually high in calories, and they may make you feel hungrier than you actually are, leading you to snack on the munchies you promised yourself you’d avoid.
Socialize Away From the Buffet Table
If you spend your time chatting around the finger foods, it’s going to be hard to resist the urge to keep going back for more. All those little handfuls sure add up over the course of the night! Instead, congregate in the living room or anywhere that’s not within reach of the snacks.
The holidays are full of parties, events and huge dinners. It’s easy to accidentally break your diet at a buffet, but because you’re serving yourself, you are completely in control of what you eat—and that’s a good thing. Just follow these simple tips for an evening of healthy fun that you won’t regret when it comes time for New Year’s resolutions.