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The holidays are upon us and we need  to keep our resolve in making the best possible food choices when attending parties and family get togethers.  Here are some simple strategies to follow:

Stick with your normal routine – if you know you’ll be attending a holiday party, don’t deviate from your typical dietary routine.  Skipping meals or trying to save calories doesn’t work.  Before you attend an event, consume a protein and healthy fat snack like celery sticks with nut butter or a protein shake.

Don’t waiver from your goals – if you want to maintain your weight and feel great, don’t indulge in sugar-laden and starchy foods.  Stay focused and do your best.

Host your own party – this is an excellent way to control food choices.  Or if attending someone else’s party, volunteer to bring a healthy dish.

Begin a holiday meal with healthy foods – like fresh veggies, a broth-based soup or salad and avoid starchy foods loaded with refined flour and unhealthy fats.

Limit or avoid alcoholic beverages – remember that alcohol decreases your inhibitions and that can lead to making poor choices.  Also keep in mind that most types of alcohol are loaded with sugar and empty calories.  Try drinking some sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime.

Focus on visiting with people instead of the food – plan a group walk after the meal and engage in conversation.

Mindful eating – take a few seconds to be thankful for your food and chew each bite slowly. Savor the flavors, colors and smells of the food.  One great trick to remember is to put your fork down in between bites.  Take a mini-break halfway through your meal to register your satiety level.

Beware of the food pushers – avoid being pushed or coerced into overindulgence of food or libations when at a party.  Just say “no”.

Be kind to yourself – if you “fall off the wagon” and overindulge, just get back into your healthy routine the next meal or the next day.  Feeling guilty about it is a waste of your time!