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Sensible Eating at Holiday Parties & Buffets

Holiday Buffet

Benton, Ark. –  

Sensible Eating at Holiday Parties & Buffets

Food is everywhere during the holidays. The keys to controlling calorie intake are moderation and portion control.

Follow these helpful tips for eating sensibly at holiday buffets and parties without depriving yourself or feeling guilty.

  • Maintain a regular eating schedule, starting with breakfast. Don’t skip meals, because this lowers blood sugar levels and causes you to overeat the rest of the day to make up for missed calories.
  • Balance party meals with other meals during the day. Eat small, healthy meals with fewer calories so that party food won’t cause you to exceed your calorie needs for the day.
  • Never go to a party hungry. Take the edge off your hunger by eating a healthy, filling snack (e.g. fruit, pretzels, crackers or low-fat yogurt) beforehand so you won’t overeat.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, including a glass before the party. It helps fill you up and offsets dehydrating drinks (e.g. coffee and alcohol).
  • See what foods are available, pre-think your choices, and allot your calories wisely. Fill up on healthy foods first. Eat plenty of plain fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low-fat milk products. Limit intake of high-calorie, high-fat foods.
  • Take your own low-calorie foods to the party to replace high-fat items like cheese and crackers. Excellent choices are veggies with a low-calorie dip or a fruit salad.
  • Use a small plate so that it looks full and you won’t feel cheated.
  • Take smaller portions, and eat only the foods you really like. You can eat whatever you’d like, as long as it’s in moderation.
  • Fill half the plate with simple vegetables and a quarter with carbohydrates. The remaining quarter should be protein foods, which help you to feel full longer and help curb the carbohydrate cravings.
  • Eat small bites, chew slowly, and savor each delicious bite. You will probably enjoy the food more, get full faster and won’t overeat.
  • Don’t drink your calories. Consume alcohol in moderation, if at all. This tip involves safety and common sense as much as nutrition. Besides, alcohol can increase your appetite, yet it reduces the number of fat calories you burn for energy. Research also shows that alcohol lowers testosterone levels for up to 24 hours after drinking.
  • Don’t hang out by the buffet table. Serve your plate and move away so you won’t be tempted to graze.
  • Before going back for seconds, wait 20 minutes for your food to “settle.” It takes that long for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full. You’ll probably find you’re no longer hungry!
  • Don’t make food the priority at parties and get-togethers. Focus on making memories and socializing with friends and family away from the buffet table. Savor the special time you’re spending with loved ones.
  • If you overindulge one day, make up for it by being more calorie-conscious the next few days.

By Kris Boulton
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Kris Boulton
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
1605 Edison Ave Benton AR 72015
(501) 303-5672
kboulton@uaex.edu

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