6 Tips to Control Calories at Your Office’s Holiday Party

How were you supposed to know that a cup of eggnog at last year’s office holiday party had about 350 calories? It makes you wish you hadn’t guzzled three glasses, which you only had to do to wash down all that food you ate.

Being prepared is half the battle when it comes to controlling your calories during the holidays, says Gayle Jennings, registered dietitian at Memorial Medical Center. She said these six tips from the American Heart Association can help you leave the office party not feeling guilty:

1. Get involved.

There’s usually a list for co-workers to volunteer to bring dishes for the party, so sign up. You can make a heart-healthy item, giving yourself at least one good option to enjoy.

2. Come prepared.

If the party is during lunch, eat a healthy breakfast followed in mid-morning by a high-fiber snack (like an apple or a small handful of almonds). If the party is after work, enjoy a protein-packed lunch like grilled fish or chicken with a salad and then later in the afternoon have another high-fiber snack. If you’re not too hungry when you go to the party, it will be easier to avoid overeating.

3. Map it out.

Avoid loading up on foods that are fried, buttered or have a lot of cheese and cream. Even though the portions may be small, these fat-laden bites can really pack a caloric punch. Look for fruit, veggies and dip, whole-grain crackers, and baked or grilled items.

4. Use the buddy system.

By splitting a dessert with someone, you can cut the calories and fat in half and avoid being wasteful. It’s a win-win.

5. Mix it up.

If alcohol is being served, alternate each glass with a glass of water. This will help reduce your thirst while filling your stomach so you’ll consume fewer calories.

6. Watch seasonal drinks.

Many holiday beverages have so much added sugar, they may as well be a dessert. Keep in mind what else you’ve eaten; it may be best to enjoy these drinks on another day.