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It’s that time of year again when people start to adorn everything in strings of twinkling lights, listen to Christmas music, look for the perfect tree, the gaudiest sweaters, and of course. . . schedule their annual holiday party. Holiday parties are not only a great way to celebrate a year of accomplishments with your friends, family, and coworkers but are also an opportunity to overindulge.

Here are ten tips on how to enjoy your holiday party while keeping your calories in check:

1. Plan to eat some extra calories at the party by eating lighter meals and working out earlier in the day. Skipping meals and snacks entirely the day of will only leave you ravenous and more likely to overeat.

2. Parties often offer food in a buffet-style format, which makes it all too easy to graze all night long. To help resist the temptation, find a seat on the other side of the room facing away from the food and don’t linger near the bar.

3. It seems obvious, but only eat the foods you really enjoy. If you take a bite of something and you’re not crazy about it, don’t feel obligated to finish eating it. Instead, be picky and save your calories for items you’re especially craving.

4. Fill your first plate with healthy, low-calorie items like vegetables, salad, or fruit. This can help to fill you up and prevent you from overdoing it with higher calorie items later on.

5. Mingle and converse as you eat. It takes about 20 minutes for the feeling of fullness to set in, so sharing a few laughs or catching up with your friends as you nosh on appetizers can allow enough time for you to realize you’ve had enough.

6. If you have the option, go with a smaller plate. A smaller plate can help you keep portion sizes and calories in check. Try to make half of the plate healthy veggies.

7. Alternate low/no-calorie beverages with your alcoholic and other higher calorie beverages. If that doesn’t work for you, try mixing half of your wine with seltzer water and using low/no calorie beverages as your mixer. This can not only prevent a hangover, but it can also save you hundreds of calories.

8. Savor your favorite yuletide treats—they only come once a year! Slowing down and focusing when you eat can help you get more satisfaction from fewer servings.

9. Take a quick 15-20 minute walk after the party. This can help jumpstart your digestion and also control blood sugars.

10. Most importantly, have a good time and cut yourself some slack if you do overindulge! Cutting back on calories always helps with weight maintenance (or loss!), but one night of poor eating will not destroy you—so don’t stress!

Use these tips, and you will be able to indulge at your holiday party without crossing the line into too much of a good thing. Have more ideas? Share them with others in the comments, or chime in on social media.

Read more about how to avoid overindulging this holiday season:

It’s not too late to send Great Harvest for the holidays! 


 Image credit: © Anchiy/Shutterstock, modified by text overlay.

Hi, I am Melissa! I’m a Registered, Licensed Dietitian and I have been the Nutrition Specialist for Great Harvest since December of 2010. I got my start in nutrition at Colorado State University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science with a focus in Dietetics. I went on to graduate from the Dietetic Internship Program at the Baptist Health System in San Antonio and then work as a Medical Nutrition Specialist in Houston. My love of the outdoors and the opportunity to work at one of Outside Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work brought me to Montana and Great Harvest. My favorite part of my job is being able to work with an amazing group of fun and intellectual individuals who are passionate about making healthy eating a delicious experience while giving back to communities across the country.