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Healthy Living: Holiday Party Pitfalls

I have been to three holiday parties so far and that has amounted to at least six extra pounds. It’s hard to stay away from the mini-meatballs, the petit-fours, the sausage slices and the cheese balls and crackers.

But there are choices you can make at all these holiday fetes that won’t adversely affect your waistline.

• Bypass the chips and other fried pound-packers and help yourself to a small handful of nuts, reduced-fat cheese and fresh fruit, or chilled shrimp. Or serve a hummus dip with a holiday-themed veggie platter: red or green pepper, zucchini and jicama strips.
• Instead of a slice of pecan pie, opt for a small slice of pie minus the crust, and make it pumpkin, which is lower in fat and calories and also provides a good dose of beta-carotene. Or try a couple of strawberries dipped in chocolate.
• Instead of calorie-laden eggnog, choose hot apple cider spiced with cinnamon.
• Cheese straws are delicious, but how about a pretzel dipped in salsa instead?
• Dodge the mashed potato bar! Grab a baked sweet potato chip in its place.
• Cheesecake is decadent. If you must, bake a bite-sized version in a mini-muffin pan (and only eat one).
• Spinach and artichokes are packed with nutrition, then drowned in cream and cheese for a warm, crowd pleasing dip. Try drizzling roasted artichokes with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper.
• Traditional gingerbread is a holiday treat – try making cookies instead, which come in with fewer calories and grams of fat.
• Tis the season for rich coffee drinks. Add one crushed peppermint candy to your coffee instead of choosing a peppermint mocha.
• And when all else fails, don’t forget your regular exercise.

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