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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Challenges of Holiday Parties and Get Togethers

This is definitely the most challenging time of year for those of us trying to stay fit and healthy. If the temptation of holiday treats wasn't bad enough, this is also when our kids are most likely to get sick and expose our families to colds, the flu, and viruses. Holiday get togethers and parties represent a tremendous challenge to our willpower and self control. Especially on occasions where you are the guest and must selectively decide which foods and or drinks to try.

Tomorrow evening is the annual Christmas party for my husband's office. It is a wonderfully planned event every year and I am looking forward to it. It will be held at a local science museum and the food will be catered. My approach every year is to be mindful of my choices so I will enjoy myself, but not be overindulgent. What I usually try to keep in mind is to eat and drink in moderation. Otherwise I will wake up the next morning feeling defeated, and when I step on the scale, frustrated. Before the big event, I will eat a healthy lunch and drink plenty of water. When the hors d'oeuvres make their rounds, I will look for the healthier choices such as fruit cocktail, shrimp cocktail, or fresh cut vegetables. I will enjoy the main course, and yes, I selected the filet mignon and not the vegetarian entree. I skip the dessert because for me it always spells trouble with a capital "T". This is the approach which works best for me. What is the most challenging aspect of the holiday season for you?

Here are some suggestions on how to lighten up your holiday meal.

Try using greek yogurt in your dips or as a healthier topping for baked potato.

Substitute skim milk for whole milk in mashed potatoes and add just enough butter for flavor.

Serve fresh cut celery and carrot sticks as an appetizer.

Make a healthy vegetable soup to serve before the big meal.

Serve a healthy fruit salad as a dessert option for guests who prefer to avoid sweets.

Avoid heavy creamy sauces for pasta in casseroles and try substituting whole grain noodles for regular to add more fiber.

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