How to survive without spiking your blood pressure or blood glucose or packing on extra pounds? Moderation in everything is a good rule of thumb.

Party wisely into 2017

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

New Year’s Eve parties are going to be in full swing this coming weekend! Holiday gatherings usually feature special foods, and often they are made with rich, fatty, calorie-laden ingredients. How to survive without spiking your blood pressure or blood glucose or packing on extra pounds? Moderation in everything is a good rule of thumb.

Here are some holiday party food-planning tips:

1. Save on calories:

  • Drink calorie-free beverages: water and flavored water, seltzer water, club sodas.
  • Feature fruits and vegetables when planning the party menu. They are lower in calories, fat and sodium.
    • Assorted seasonable fruit tray with vanilla yogurt dip.
    • Mini apple tarts with ginger cookie crust.
    • Salsa or hummus with colorful veggie dippers.

2. Include some healthy-for-you sources of fat:

  • Olives and olive spread.
  • Nuts including pistachios, walnuts, pecans and almonds.
  • Smoked salmon or salmon spread.
  • Whole-grain crostini drizzled with extra virgin (extra flavorful!) olive oil.

3. Delicious appetizer ideas:

  • Whole-grain pita chips with black bean and salsa dip.
  • Cheese board with roasted red peppers and grapes.
  • Turkey breast meatballs in cranberry-BBQ sauce.

New Year’s Eve parties are lots of fun, and you don’t want to spend your time fretting about your food intake. It is a special time with family and friends but you can maintain reasonable eating even at the merriest of gatherings. Plan to eat your usual meals and snacks during the day so that you are not starved by the time that you land at the party.  Enjoy a long walk before or after the party to balance out the party food intake, and to provide some stress relief in this busy season.

Recipes to try:

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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.