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How to Stay Healthy, Cut Calories at Holiday Parties

Holiday party season is all around us, and now is the time you might be tempted to throw your diet and exercise plan out the window because you know you'll be making some unsavory choices. However, you can change all that with these tips on staying healthy and avoiding diet killers at parties.

The holiday season is upon us, and with this comes the opportunity to attend holiday parties while enjoying some festive food and drinks. While it is definitely great to spend time with family and friends, overindulging can throw your diet and exercise plan off kilter and mess with your physique. In addition, being around so many people in the thick of cold and flu season can put you at risk of picking up some nasty sicknesses. However, don't think you have to boycott the holiday season altogether in order to avoid experiencing a heavy feeling of guilt from overeating, or a nasty cold from a little too much social interaction. Here are some tips as to how you can make it through the holidays while staying healthy and not tipping the scale. 

Bring your own healthy dish to pass.

It's always polite and a sign of a well-mannered individual to bring a dish to pass to parties, but doing so can also help you to stay on track with your diet. Make sure your dish is low in calories but still contains a bunch of healthy ingredients. An appetizer like multigrain bagel chips with smoked salmon mousse is a great way to enjoy a tasty snack without packing on the pounds. Fitness magazine suggests cutting multigrain bagels into thin rounds and then toasting them. Blend smoked salmon, cream cheese, mayonnaise and lemon juice in a food processor and then spread onto the bagels and top with black pepper and chives. If the other options at the party seem too unhealthy, you know you can always reach for the food you brought yourself.

Prepare and fill up beforehand with chia.

Before you head out to the party, it's easy to tell yourself you're not going to stuff yourself, but harder to make that notion actually come to fruition. Fortunately, chia seeds can help with this effort. Dr. Oz recommends mixing two tablespoons of raw or whole chia seeds into a glass of water, letting the mixture sit for several minutes, and then sipping it down to fill your stomach up with fiber. This can help keep you from overeating, prevent fat absorption and stop your body from giving off hunger signals long after you've maxed out your stomach's capacity.

Sip from a wine glass.

Now this one might be confusing: what do you drink out of a wine glass other than wine? Try pouring a glass of water with lemon into a wine glass, and sip on that during the night to produce the visual effects of drinking alcohol but without all of the empty calories, sugar and fat. Tending to a fancy glass filled with water might not provide you with the same buzz you get with alcohol, but it will spare you the bloating and other undesirable side effects that come with drinking many popular alcoholic beverages. However, if you just can't pass up your favorite drink, make sure you stick to two drinks max, and go for a healthier choice like red wine or dark beer instead of sugary cocktails.

Keep track of your dishes/cups/utensils.

At parties where there's lots of activity, it can be difficult to keep track of your belongings. Make sure that you don't accidentally swap dishes or glasses with another guest. Accidentally eating off your friend's fork or drinking out of their glass might not seem like that big of a deal, but in the midst of cold and flu season, it can be detrimental to your health. “Oh no, where's my glass?” is a quite common phrase to hear at parties and gatherings of any kind where beverages are involved. Though it might seem like only a minor issue, when you accidentally take a sip out of your sick cousin's glass, things might change.

Accept defeat from sweets.

Come on, you know that no one can resist Grandma's Christmas cookies. While those little suckers look so delicious, they are likely going to be packed with sugar and fat. However, the holidays only come around once a year, so now is probably not the best time to practice your self control. Go ahead and enjoy a couple cookies, but make sure the rest of your meal is balanced with veggies and a moderate serving of your choice of protein. 

Cut out grease and fat.

Have you ever looked forward to a slice of pizza, only to be disturbed by a giant puddle of grease sitting pretty atop it? That grease or oil is one major source of calories and fat. Maybe you're not eating pizza this holiday, or maybe you are, but either way, sopping up extra grease or oil on foods can help save you from excess fat. The sight of a saturated paper towel might not be pleasant, but at least you can say you spared yourself up to 4.5 grams of fat, according to ABC News

Wash your hands regularly.

When you walk into a holiday party, you might feel like you're walking into a war zone with germs as your enemy. While you might be tempted to carry around an antibacterial hand sanitizer to pump out after every handshake, the alcohol in many of these sanitizers can causing drying effects and end up irritating your skin if you overuse it. Regular soap and water are more efficient at knocking out germs and bacteria. Natural soaps with ingredients like vitamin E can help nourish and moisturize your skin so your hands are feeling clean and looking great all night long.

It is possible to make it through the holiday season without becoming sick and/or a little plump. Taking some of these simple precautions can help you to enjoy your time with family and friends while fighting germs and staving off a large number on the scale. 

Have a great day, and come back next week for more healthy living tips!

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