Holiday gatherings and New Year’s Eve parties are going to be in full swing this coming week. These occasions usually feature special dishes, and often they are made with rich, fatty, salty, sugary and/or calorie-laden ingredients.

Be Mindful of Holiday Food Choices

Image Holiday Dinner Table Toast Image Holiday Dinner Table Toast Image Holiday Dinner Table Toast

Holiday gatherings and New Year’s Eve parties are going to be in full swing this coming week. These occasions usually feature special dishes, and often they are made with rich, fatty, salty, sugary and/or calorie-laden ingredients. It is possible to have a single meal providing over 2000 calories, or a night of holiday nibbling delivering over 2,000 mg of sodium or 150 grams of carbohydrates. How to survive without spiking your blood pressure or blood glucose, or setting off symptoms from IBS? Moderation in everything is a pretty good rule of thumb.

Limit your time at the buffet table and spend more time visiting with guests. And bring one or two of your own dishes that have been lightened-up in salt and sugar. Everyone will appreciate that effort.

Here are some additional holiday dinner and party survival tips.

Save on calories (and sugar and fat) when you can:

  • Drink calorie-free like water, flavored water, tea and coffee
  • Focus on dishes and appetizers that feature fruits and vegetables
  • Make dips with healthy ingredients such as lower fat sour cream or cream cheese, or Greek yogurt

Enjoy healthy fat sources in modest servings:

  • Olives (but high in sodium)
  • Nuts such as peanuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts
  • Avocados – slices, mashed or in guacamole
  • Hummus

Other great holiday munchie options:

  • 2% cheese with multi-grain crackers
  • Turkey breast meatballs
  • Party mix with nuts, bran chex and multi-grain pretzels

Holiday parties are loads of fun. It is a special time with family and friends and you can maintain reasonable eating even at the merriest of gatherings. Other considerations:

  • Plan to eat your usual meals and snacks throughout the day so that you are not starved at party time
  • Keep up with your prescribed medications
  • Add a long walk to your day if you can, and then a good walk the next day to off-set some of the calories consumed

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.