Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article –
Holiday parties are abound this time of year, and navigating through a buffet or potluck is a challenge for anyone; even for those who are at a healthy weight. Your appetizer platter itself can be a dieter’s worst nightmare. So, here are some tips to help you manage a successful and satisfying dining experience that won’t add inches to your waistline.
- Always choose the smallest plate or bowl available. People tend to serve themselves less the more their food fills the plate.
- Limit yourself to 6 to 8 bite-size appetizers, or 3-4 larger ones. Fill up on fruits and vegetables first. A broth based soup is also a good choice.
- Make just one trip through a buffet, taking only a single entrée, side and vegetable. Keep portions down and choose items that have been baked, steamed or grilled.
- After making your selections, find a seat the farthest from the buffet or put your backside toward it. Out of sight – out of mind!
- Savor your food by eating slowly and mindfully, enjoying each flavor.
- Choose a small dessert (the size of a cupcake) or have only 3 forkfuls of a shared one.
- When you’re done, clear your place quickly and get on your feet.
Check out these sample buffet choices below to see how you can cut the calories almost by half!
The Big Bad Belly Busters
Appetizers — 2 bacon wrapped asparagus with aioli = 160 calories
3 stuffed mushrooms or mini quiches = 180 calories
5 Swedish meatballs = 215 calories
Entrée – 3 oz. carved roast beef with creamed horseradish = 290 calories
1 Cup mashed potatoes = 220 calories
½ Cup sautéed glazed carrots = 85 calories
Dessert — 3”x 3” bar or 1/12 cheesecake = 450 calories
Total: 1600 calories
Happy and Healthy Picks
Appetizers — 1 Cup raw veggies or crudités = 40 calories
2 Tablespoons hummus = 50 calories
2 chicken skewers = 90 calories
3 prosciutto wrapped melon slices = 135 calories
Entrée – spicy blackened fish fillet = 180 calories
1 Cup roasted red skinned potatoes = 170 calories
½ Cup steamed vegetable medley = 35 calories
Dessert – 1 oatmeal raisin cookie or slice of apple spice cake = 180 calories
Total: 880 calories
Oh, and lest we forgot to mention the bubbly! One 4 fl. oz. glass of champagne has 80 calories, the equivalent of a 20 minute brisk paced walk. Or, to burn off those calories in a fun way at the party, dance continuously for 20 minutes, or approximately 4-6 songs. Plus, grooving on the dance floor is not only great exercise…it keeps you away from the buffet line!
Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.