How not to blow your diet during the holidays

I love to eat.  It shows 🙂

This holiday, I’m trying to balance enjoying some wonderful food with fitting into my favorite jeans.  If you’re in the same boat, here  are some of my calorie-saving strategies.

Cocktail, anyone?

You’re partying, you’re celebrating, and you’re libating! One trick to reduce your alcohol intake is to drink a club soda or glass of water between each drink.  David taught me this after I had a hangover (if I drink two drinks — my maximum — I usually feel pretty hungover, unless I do this)  My favorite non-alcoholic drink is to order seltzer or club soda with a splash of cranberry juice and a wedge of lime.  It looks festive and Christmasy…and it has very few calories!

So, anything with bread, chips, crackers, cheese, sauce, gravy, or dressing are the diet pitfalls.  It’s really hard to not go overboard at a party.  Even a few appetizers can add up to a lot of calories.  But lovely shrimp — you can have a big shrimp with cocktail sauce for just 22 calories!  Olives and almonds are good for you, but you have to watch the sodium, so enjoy them in moderation.  Generally when I go to parties, the food that is served is really laden with calories, so one strategy is eat something filling before you go out — like a bowl of oatmeal, or a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt, or a slice of turkey and a slice of Swiss cheese wrapped in a tortilla.  Then, to keep my hands busy, I take lots of photographs at the party.

Desserts and Coffee Drinks

I really hate to break this to you.  I know it tastes like Christmas in a cup — but that delicious smelling Starbucks Peppermint Mocha?  The smallest size tops over 300 calories.  If you’re going into Starbucks, do your diet a favor and just order a cup of regular coffee — that’s only 5 calories! — or a cup of tea.  What about those low-fat cakes?  Think they are a good snack?  Nope.  Every low-fat slice of cake they have are over 350 calories; some almost 400 calories.   Don’t even think about cupcakes.  Have a mini scone or cookie instead, or split a piece of that amazing gingerbread with four friends 🙂

If you’re still pining for the taste of the peppermint mocha you passed up, when you get home you could make one yourself with your own coffee, a small squirt of Hershey’s chocolate syrup (1 Tbsp=50 calories), and the new peppermint whipped cream (comes in a can at Safeway; about 15 calories) for under 100 calories.

Pie is my personal downfall. Guess what. Not all pie is evil 🙂 You can have a slice of pumpkin pie for under 300 calories, some spray whipped cream for 15  calories, and if you do what I do — not eat the crust — you’ll save even more calories and fat.  But choose a piece of innocent-looking pecan pie and you could be in for 500-600 calories!

I don’t know if I’ll lose weight this holiday season — wouldn’t that be wonderful?  But if I follow my own advice, at least, I hope I won’t gain any extra.

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