Top 9 Nutrition Tips For Surviving Holiday Parties

Author: Calgary Weight Management Centre |

Blog by Calgary Weight Management Centre

The holiday season is upon us! Although an exciting time, going to holiday parties unplanned can halt your weight loss efforts. Here are some practical tips to help make this holiday season fun and stress-free, while still being mindful about how and what you eat:

No empty bellies:

Some people think it’s a good idea to show up to a party on an empty stomach, to make the most of the yummy holiday foods. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Starting off too hungry leads to poor decision-making and over-eating. Overdoing it often results in feelings of guilt and regret, which is no fun.

Instead, stick with your regular routine and avoid skipping meals to “save up” for party foods. Always eat something beforehand so you will be more in control—you’ll feel good about your choices and be able to enjoy your time more.

Be a “picky eater”:

Buffet or party tables have plenty of appetizing choices, which often results in a sampling frenzy. Here’s where being a picky eater can come in handy. Scan around to see all of the options first, then take small amounts of the foods you really want, and stick to about three or four items at a time. Also ask yourself whether you want to stick to appetizers only, or if you are having dinner afterward too. Pacing yourself and having a bit of a plan can really help with portion control.

Veggie-fy your plate:

While this is something we should always aim to do, sticking to this habit, especially during parties can help with weight control. Chewing vegetables, which are loaded full of fiber, can slow down and keep you feeling fuller longer (not to mention they’re chock full of many other nutrients as well). This gives your brain a chance to catch up to your stomach, so you are less likely to over-indulge on more calorie-dense foods.

Downsize your dish:

You will always serve yourself less food (but still feel satisfied) when you use smaller dinnerware. In fact, research shows that small plates trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more, so it could help you with portion control. Serve yourself a bit less than you think you’ll need, knowing that you can always go back for more.

Savor every bite:

Give your food the attention it deserves. Taking the time to enjoy your food prevents you from mindlessly eating just because the food is there. You can also try putting your fork down in between bites, or consciously getting up to use the washroom when you’re beginning to feel full. This might seem silly, but it’ll slow you down and let your body become “comfortably full” instead of “over-full”.

Chat away from the chow:

Sarah Remmer RD, one of two dietitians at the Calgary Weight Management Clinic, wrote a blog post on what she calls the “see-food syndrome” and its relation to weight. In a nutshell, when we see (or even think of) foods we like, our brains are hardwired to start craving them, even if we weren’t actually physically hungry to begin with. If you stay away from the food table, you reduce the risk of falling victim to this. If you still find your hands reaching for treats, visualize a stop sign and distract yourself for 10 minutes - you might realize that you don’t want or need more food after all.

Watch the sugary cocktails:

Liquids don’t fill us up the same way solid foods do. In other words, liquid calories add up fast! Not only are sugary, alcoholic drinks packed with empty calories (there’s no nutrition there), but alcohol lowers your inhibition, making it more likely to overdo it food-wise. If you are planning on drinking alcohol, set a drink limit before going, and try alternating every other drink with water.

Mind your sauces:

Sauces and condiments like ketchup, mayo, barbeque sauce, and even that ranch dip can be sneaky sources of calories. Some are jam-packed with sugar (like ketchup), and others are just added fats (like mayo). It’s not to say that you can’t have any –after all, it’s hard to imagine fries without ketchup. The trick is to be aware of what you’re adding to your food.

This blog post was written by our Dietetic intern Evelyn Cheng, and edited by Sarah Remmer, RD



Weight Management Doctors, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Psychologist

Serving clients from across Alberta, including Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks, Chestermere, High River, Langdon, Cochrane, Strathmore and other surrounding areas.