Everyone loves the holidays because of all of the festivities and presents than come along with the special time of year. However, no one likes the weight gain from the traditional food that accompanies the holiday spirit. In a perfect universe, we would all be allowed to eat our favorite holiday dishes without going up a size. However, it is possible to enjoy the holiday fun while keeping your pants buttoned! With a few sacrifices, the holiday miracles are still feasible! 

The hardest part about the holidays is all of the parties that come along with it. The fear of weight gain should never deter anyone from attending a fun, holiday party. Therefore, let's dig into ways to avoid the weight gain so we can dig into our plates guilt-free! 

Some of the techniques must be done before you actually get to the party to ensure that you don't just eat everything in sight. 

1. Avoid the Chocolate

It seems like chocolate is everywhere you look during the holidays. Whether it's chocolate turkeys or gelt, there is no way to avoid it, especially because it smells so good. Therefore, our first step to limit that holiday weight gain is to avoid or at least limit our chocolate intake. 

We all know that cutting out chocolate is never going to happen, so let's modify how we eat it! Instead of inhaling peppermint hershey kisses mindlessly, why not make chocolate covered strawberries or bananas. These take time to make and eat, so our brains will have time to process what we're consuming. In addition, this dish, although it is sweet, provides nutrients from the fruit which provides some health benefit. Lastly, it's all about the holiday right?!

Chocolate covered strawberries dipped in nuts makes the perfect kind of spirited treat, and the protein from the nuts will leave you satisfied!

sweet, strawberry, chocolate
Morgan Goldberg

2. Eat a healthy snack and drink lots of water

The key to having self control at a holiday party is to eat a filling, small snack before arriving at the event. Some snacks include turkey slices, baby carrots, or a small pack of nuts. This will satisfy your hunger for the time being and will prevent you from eating the first food in sight. These few extra calories will save you from consuming thousands of extra ones that your body does not need and that you do not want.

Many times, hunger is disguised as thirst. So, on the way to your party make sure to drink a glass of water to minimize your hunger and to keep you feeling hydrated. 

2) Bring your own (healthy) dish

If you are concerned that there will be no healthy options at the party, bring one! My family always brings a vegetable dish and a fruit platter to ensure that we will have a healthy alternative side dish and dessert. In addition, it is common courtesy to bring a gift to the hosts, so why not kill two birds in one stone and bring what you know you'll benefit from and that others will enjoy too?

Becky Hughes

3) Wear tight clothes

Now, you're probably thinking, "Why would I wear tight clothes to a party that is overflowing with food?" No one likes the feeling of their jeans digging into their stomach or the fear that their button will pop as soon as they sit down. But, wearing those tight clothes motivates you to eat as healthy as possible to avoid those heavy feelings that no one likes. This will challenge you to eat well. Although ripping jeans makes for a great holiday memory, let's hope its not coming from you!

4) Use a small plate

With all of the delicious food in sight, it is almost impossible to limit yourself to one item, so you shouldn't have to. Studies show that halving the plate size reduces the amount of food consumption by 30%. If reducing caloric intake is that simple, there is no excuse not to halve the plate size. If you constantly use smaller plates, eventually you will not realize and will naturally consume less food while enjoying it just as much. Consuming 50% of the food, provides 100% of the taste, so let's get halving! 

5) Avoid the appetizers, except the crudités

My favorite part of any holiday party is definitely the appetizers. With so many different options, I am always thinking about what I'm going to eat next before I even finish what I'm chewing. However, do not be fooled by the small size of the appetizers: they are loaded with calories and aren't filling.

If you plan to eat a healthy snack before you arrive to the party and only eat from the crudités, you will be more satisfied than you think. If you are nervous that the other dishes will be too tempting, load your plate with veggies and don't eat anything else until you're finished. Before you know it, it will be meal time.

salad, tomato, pepper, cucumber, vegetable
Christin Urso

6) Do not have seconds 

All of the food at these parties is probably to die for. But once you've tasted something, there is no need to taste it again, unless it's veggies, of course. But, if you stick to the healthy appetizers and dishes, then have as many seconds as you wish. If the stuffing or marshmallow soufflé speaks to you, have a small portion, on that small plate of yours, and then move on to the next healthy dish. Once again, a taste is simply enough. 

7) Drink a wine spritzer

Holiday time is drinking time, but drinking means a ton of extra calories. The perfect solution to this is a wine spritzer. If you fill half the glass with wine and the rest with carbonated water, you won't taste a difference and will decrease your caloric intake by at least half. A typical wine spritzer has 75 calories which enables you to have 2 glasses and not feel like you are making sacrifices. Now you can look classy without feeling guilty. Sip, sip, hooray!

cheers, glasses, rosé, rosé wine, wine, alcohol
Caroline Ingalls

8) Talk Talk Talk!!

The whole point about the party is to socialize, so why not use it to our dietary advantage. The more time spent talking, the less time spent eating and the more fun you'll have! It's a win-win situation. If you're engaged in conversation, the temptations of the unhealthy foods will not be as predominant and you will have a more enjoyable experience. This is by far the easiest health-hack there is, so chat away. 

With these hacks, everyone should be able to enjoy the holiday spirit without spending the whole holiday season on the scale.