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Healthy holiday party options

holiday party

There are some things around the holidays that we just can't avoid: irritating in-laws, pointed questions, and the occasional family rift over politics or sports teams. Somewhere on the table between your Aunt Sue and your hungry child is a smorgasbord of mouth-watering diet-busting platters of food. It doesn't have to be that way, and you can, in fact, have your cake and eat it too.

Know Your Dealbreakers

That's what Methodist Health System wellness coach and nutritionist Carey Shore, MS, RD, LD, suggests. "If you are going into a holiday meal and you love apple pie, and Christmas is not going to be the same without it, then by all means, enjoy some apple pie!"

Allow yourself to have your favorite. If you don't, you're more likely to binge and end up eating three slices of apple pie the next day.

Limit The Temptation

If you still have a basket of Halloween candy sitting in the entryway, you have a basket full of temptation and sugar.

When you show up for a party, don't show up on empty stomach and do take stock of what's available. If you go in blindly thinking you're only going to have the 'light eggnog,' it's still 250 calories per cup. If you drink three cups, that's 750 calories from drinks alone.

"We want people to think in terms of having a meal that's about 500 calories," Shore says.

Try A Trade

When it comes to appetizers, trade in the ranch for cauliflower dip or hummus, or bake kale chips in the oven and set out vegetables. Pretzels and nuts are also healthy options, so long as they're not glazed.

As for a main course, Shore recommends thinking of the phrase 'roast, bake, grill.' Anything else is likely dripping in fat and oils, but olive oil is a healthy oil to use. And, your best bet for a tasty and filling meal is roasted turkey, chicken breast, or lean cuts of beef.

Whether you're hosting or attending an event, don't skip breakfast or lunch, and don't show up on an empty stomach. In fact, get in the habit of filling your stomach with healthy fillers such as nuts, soup, fruits or vegetables. Grab a handful of almonds or nuts to take with you, and if you're not already drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day, start. All of this will lead to a calm stomach, and with a calm stomach you'll have a calm mind and be able to make better choices.

"I would say to anybody, if you have something you love, whether it's pumpkin pie or chocolate chip cookies, enjoy it, and really enjoy it," says Shore. "Because, I believe in giving yourself permission to eat certain things, but give yourself permission when you have a calm stomach."

Need to workout but don't want to leave the house, no problem! Check out our Living Room Workout video led by Methodist fitness and wellness instructors here.