The following feature is part two in our Holiday Health series. Be sure to check out part one entitled Staying Active.

Artfully designed charcuterie boards, sumptuous carving stations, deliciously decadent chocolate fountains …  temptation is everywhere we look this time of year. With family dinners, office parties and friendly gatherings, we just can’t escape all the “chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” “marshmallows for toasting” and “corn for popping” as we “pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie.” (Apologies, everyone. I couldn’t resist.)

Southshore Physical Therapy, Metairie Louisiana, Christmas, holiday, bundt cake

Here are a few tips to keep you from fitting in Santa’s pants this December.

Plan ahead. If a friend is hosting the party, ask him or her what will be served. If the event is at a restaurant, look up the menu online. If it’s an office party, ask the organizer. By making your choices ahead of time, you can structure your daily intake around what you intend to eat at the event. You can also know if you want to “save up” for anything really special. (I’m looking at you, baked brie in puff pastry.)

Take (some) command of the party spread. Obviously, if you’re hosting the party, you have omnipotent power of the foods from which you will be choosing. If the occasion is a potluck event, you still have a little control. Try to bring something you like that will keep you occupied and away from the fattier choices. (Be realistic. Celery sticks can’t compete with parmesan-crusted shrimp quesadillas. Unless they’re wrapped in bacon.)

Never go to an event starving. Eat something before the party to keep you from diving headfirst into the spinach and artichoke dip. A small, high-protein snack (eggs, nuts, cheese, hummus, avocado, etc.) will keep you full longer and will also help to balance your blood sugar so you don’t overindulge on desserts. (And if you’re one of those people who can chew gum all evening to avoid eating, we can no longer be friends.)

Stay hydrated. Holiday cocktails will be flowing so it’s easy to take in a lot of calories in liquid form. Drinking a glass of water every 1-2 hours will serve as a natural appetite suppressant helping you feel fuller for the evening, not to mention way better in the morning. (Afraid you’ll be running to the bathroom too frequently? Just remember, every trip to the loo is time spent away from the buffet table.)

Just remember to be self-disciplined and smart, but don’t sweat the small stuff too much. The bottom line is to enjoy spending time with the people you love … well, at least the people you like. (Wink)

Michele Robert Poche

Southshore Physical Therapy, Metairie Louisiana, happy, smiling, physical therapist, technicians, staff