The holidays…if you are like me they stir up a range of emotions from excitement to anxiety and stress. I’m excited to see my family and friends, go to holiday parties and enjoy the festivities, yet stressed about the temptation that I will have to face at every event…..THE FOOD! Sometimes even holiday shopping will cause me to want to treat myself to something that is a high calorie, unhealthy processed meal. It takes all the control from your mind and your behavior to not succumb to these bad habits. You must never turn your mind “off” of what you know is right and wrong, healthy and unhealthy. You must stay focused and have a plan during these times! Here are some tips on how to handle a holiday party

1.) You must always be mindful.

Always think about what you are putting in your mouth. Plan out your daily food schedule, pick one day to food prep your meals, and stick to them. On top of that you should keep a daily food diary of the food you ate including beverages. You can also write down the mood you were in when you ate your food. Most often our moods can determine the type and amount of food we have eaten. This will help you in becoming your own detective when it comes to your eating patterns and behaviors. Always write down your water intake so you can make sure you are getting enough in. Hunger can sometimes be confused with the dehydration cue in your body. If it is not in your plan…make sure to measure it out, eat it slowly so you can enjoy this indulgence and be sure to write the calories (estimate if there is no food label) of this food you ate in your dairy. These tips will help you be more accountable for your actions and try to help you stay on track.

2.) Plan ahead for the party you will be attending and stick to it.

You know there is going to be all kinds of food and alcohol at these parties. If you do drink make sure not to go overboard. These empty caloric alcoholic beverages will almost always lead you to over eat every item on the buffet table. Whether it is a sit down dinner event or a casual buffet style party, always have a plan of what you are going to allow yourself to eat. If it is a close friend you can ask what will be served so you can make better decisions before the tempting plate is served to you. If it is at a restaurant you can always let the server or staff to not offer you anymore passed appetizers in a joking manner so they know not to tempt you. Never deprive yourself of food all day for the party. You think you will be saving yourself calories but to have a healthy sensible meal that day will actually help you control your more than likely out of control eating later at the event. I like to keep a bottle of water with me and keep it in my hand at all times. Even if I have a libation my other hand will have the bottle of water. #1 it reminds me to take sips every now and then to stay hydrated, #2 it is a physical object that reminds me to be mindful at this party and #3 it is hard to shovel food in your mouth when one or both of your hands are occupied. Lastly you can always bring your own food to the party. Those that judge you are more than likely feeling guilty that you are staying strong and have a plan to stay successful on your quest to lose weight or to maintain your weight. I have been known to bring my own food and put it on the plates that are provided at the buffet table to blend in a little more with the crowd. I enjoy eating my portion controlled, healthy food while watching others delight in the crockpot dish I brought for them.

Here is a zucchini recipe from “Hungry Girl”. It was intended as a summer recipe but I see it fit for any occasion. You have to have a spiral vegetable slicer and I got my “As Seen on TV” Veggeti from a local retail store for around $25.

Stay tuned for more tips on how to help you avoid gaining weight during those holiday parties!

Hungry Girl’s Zucchini Noodle ‘Pasta’ Salad
Serves: 6

20 oz. (2 – 3 medium) zucchini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup reduced-fat feta cheese
¼ cup sliced black olives
⅓ cup light Italian dressing

  1. Using a spiral vegetable slicer, cut zucchini into spaghetti-like noodles. (If you don’t have a spiral veggie slicer, peel zucchini into super-thin strips, rotating the zucchini as you slice it.) Roughly chop for shorter noodles.
  2. Place zucchini noodles in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients except dressing, and mix well.
  3. Add dressing, and stir to coat.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, or until chilled.

Nutritional Information: ⅙th of recipe (about ¾ cup): 73 calories, 3.5g fat, 319mg sodium, 7.5g fat, 1.5g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 3.5g protein