Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Holiday parties may boost the spirit, but they can really give your waistline a pounding. Tammy Baker, a registered dietitian in Scottsdale, Arizona, says it’s hard to survive a cocktail party without scarfing down 1,500 calories. The trick is knowing what’s in each bite and budgeting accordingly.

Here’s the system: Take one small plate (about six inches across) and fill it up once with any four of the hors d’oeuvres from the list below. (It helps if you spend the first half of the party talking with friends, before you head for the buffet.) No matter what you pick, you’ll come in at around 400 calories. Have a glass of champagne or some red wine (avoid the high-calorie egg nog) and you’re still under 500 calories. Cheers!

Crudites

Serving size
4 carrot sticks, 6 green and red pepper slices, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 broccoli florets

Calories/fat
70 calories
1 gram of fat

What you get
They’ve got antioxidants plus filling fiber. Start here and return if you’re still hungry.

Tortilla chips and salsa

Serving size
6 chips with 2 Tbsp. salsa

Calories/fat
145 calories
7 grams of fat

What you get
Salsa is a sneaky way to get a bit of the five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables you should eat daily.

Potato chips

Serving size
8 chips with 2 Tbsp. dip

Calories/fat
120 calories
10 grams of fat

What you get
Not the best option, but it’s OK if you keep the portion small.

Turkey

Serving size
2 slices

Calories/fat
80 calories
2 grams of fat

What you get
Turkey is a lean protein, and a good way to fill up with minimal calories.

Hummus and pita

Serving size
2 Tbsp. hummus with one-half pita bread pocket

Calories/fat
125 calories
3 1/2 grams of fat

What you get
You’ll get your own halo for choosing this fiber-and protein-rich combo.

Cheese and crackers

Serving size
1 oz. cheese with eight baked wheat crackers, such as Wheat Thins

Calories/fat
170 calories
8 grams of fat

What you get
These two offer calcium and fiber (1 gram of fiber and 20 percent of your daily calcium).

Guacamole

Serving size
2 Tbsp.

Calories/fat
50 calories
4 grams of fat

What you get
Yes, this avocado dip contains fat, but it’s monounsaturated – the type that’s good for you.

Shrimp cocktail

Serving size
4 boiled shrimp, 2 Tbsp. cocktail sauce

Calories/fat
65 calories
1 gram of fat

What you get
Shrimp is a low-cal, low-fat source of protein, and the spicy sauce adds a flavorful zip.

This post was originally published in 2011 and has been updated for 2016.

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