CHEROKEE COUNTY — • Don’t go to a party hungry: We often eat faster and more when we are hungry – therefore, eat a wholesome breakfast or lunch to avoid overeating at the party.
• Watch portions: Treat yourself to a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweets without guilt, but always watch your portions. Go for small plates instead of larger ones. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
• Make a conscious choice to limit high-fat foods: High-fat foods are easily identifiable and include fried food, cream-based soup, cheese-filled casseroles, pies, processed meats such as salami and sausages, some pastries and baked goods.
• Try other versions of alcohol: Instead of beer, cider, Bailey’s and Kahula, try dry wine, Bloody Marys or spirits with a diet mixer. These options have fewer calories. Remember – calories from alcohol tend to be stored in the abdomen. People who are overweight gain weight more easily when they consume alcohol.
• Chew gum. When you don’t want to eat, pop a piece of sugarless gum into your mouth. This works well when you’re cooking or when you’re trying not to dive into a buffet.
• Drink plenty of water: Alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. Also, since some alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories, cut your alcohol calories in half by alternating water or seltzer between alcoholic beverages.
• Bring something healthy to the party: To guarantee there’s something healthy on the buffet, volunteer to bring it yourself. Try a seasonal salad, homemade bean dip, or a big plate of veggies with hummus dip. These all provide flavorful, filling alternatives to foods higher in fat and calories.
• Choose white meat over dark: A 3-ounce serving of turkey breast (skinless) has 119 calories and 1 gram of fat (compared to dark meat with 145 calories and 5 grams of fat).
• Try vegetarian: Make your first course all veggies. If you’re still hungry, go back for seconds and choose lean meats and light side dishes.
• Savor the moment: Holidays are about spending time with friends and family. Instead of rushing through your meal, savor it and socialize.
Wendi L. Green, County Extension Agent-Family and Consumer Sciences. Mrs. Green has a BA in Teaching Vocational Home Economics from Sam Houston State University. She is a Certified Food Safety Instructor, Diabetes Educator, Texas Friendly Trainer and Master Food Preserver.