Maintain your willpower and your healthy lifestyle this season by following these South Beach Diet tips for managing eating at parties and other holiday gatherings.
The South Beach Diet
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holiday season is always filled with tasty temptations, so it's not surprising
that seasonal party fare, including decadent desserts, can lead to overdoing it
in the diet department if you're not careful. Even people who maintain a
healthy weight tend to gain about a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's,
while studies show that those who are overweight can put on 5 pounds or more
during these five festive weeks. We help you stay on track with these smart strategies.
Start every day right
It's all too easy to lose sight of
a healthy eating plan at holiday time when the stresses of shopping and party
planning begin to take their toll. An important way to sustain your energy and
avoid overeating is to never skip breakfast. Studies show
that people who skip a morning meal tend
to eat more poorly throughout the day than those who eat breakfast, and they
also exercise less. The best breakfast consists of some lean protein and fiber.
Both help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling satisfied until at
least mid-morning, when you should enjoy your first snack of the day. Consider
an omelet made with chopped vegetables, reduced-fat cheese, or salmon. Or, on
those days when you must resort to a grab-and-go breakfast, combine some
fat-free Greek yogurt with some blueberries and sliced natural almonds or pack
a smoothie made with silken tofu and mixed berries.
Don't skimp to "save up" for a big, multi-course meal
meals and snacks so you can eat more at your holiday dinner is a strategy that
almost always ends up backfiring. You'll be much better off eating a healthy
breakfast and lunch, as well as a protein- and fiber-rich mid-morning and
mid-afternoon snack, so you won't be famished when you do sit down to eat. If
you don't have time to prepare a healthy snack, enjoy a South Beach Diet
100-Calorie Snack Bar or Protein Fit Bar.
Eat before a party
you're heading to a holiday party and you're concerned about losing control
around the canapés and other hors d'oeuvres, have a snack consisting of some
lean protein (like some reduced-fat yogurt or a couple of slices of turkey
breast) and a fiber-rich carbohydrate (like some fruit or a few whole-grain
crackers) before you head out. This smart-eating strategy will help keep your
blood sugar levels in check and temptation and cravings on hold. If you're
really worried about what might be served at the party, ask if you can bring
your own healthy party fare, such as a platter of crudités with hummus or another South Beach Diet-friendly
Evaluate your food options
Before you even pick up a plate at any food-filled gathering, survey the scene and know what your options are. Make a mental note of the different selections, and then seek out the dishes made with the healthiest ingredients. Look for lean meat, poultry, or seafood and healthy vegetable and whole-grain side dishes, and take reasonable servings of each. Be sure to steer clear of dishes that are loaded with cheese, coated with cream sauce, or prepared with white flour or white sugar. If a choice of plates is available, choose a small one rather than a large one; it's a good way to keep your portions in check.
Make South Beach Diet–friendly dishes
Whether you're throwing a holiday event or bringing a dish to contribute to one, the best way to ensure that there's South Beach Diet-friendly fare available is to prepare your own South Beach Diet versions of your favorite recipes or make one of the healthy and delicious dishes using the recipe finder on our website. Try one of our healthy stuffings, a butternut squash purée, sweet potato and zucchini latkes, pumpkin pie made with a whole-wheat phyllo crust, or our sparkling cranberry punch — they're all crowd-pleasers!
Go easy on the alcohol
For many people, egg nog, seasonal cocktails, wines paired with holiday dinners, and champagne flutes clinking at midnight on New Year's Eve are all a part of the holiday festivities. While enjoying an occasional cup of holiday cheer is fine on a healthy diet, it's important to drink moderately and never on an empty stomach. When you do imbibe, do so while enjoying an hors d'oeuvre, while eating a meal, or right afterward. Women should limit their alcoholic beverages to one a day and men to two a day. Be sure to pass on any cocktails made with sugary soda or simple syrup and enjoy a glass of red or white wine or extra-brut champagne instead. Cheers!
Enjoy dessert...in moderation
What's a holiday meal without a slice of pie or cake for dessert? Enjoying a decadent dessert on a special occasion can be really satisfying, and there's no need to feel guilty about it afterward, especially if the rest of your meal was filled with nutritious choices. Simply request a small serving of dessert and savor it slowly. And keep the "Three-Bite Rule" in mind: Take three bites and then put the dessert aside for a few minutes; you'll likely find that you are satisfied with just that amount of sweetness. After the holidays are over, resume your regular healthy eating habits and make dessert an occasional treat.
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