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Go Ask Mom

Duke Medicine: How to attack the New Year's party buffet table

Posted December 30, 2010 8:00 p.m. EST

Heading to a New Year's party, but not looking forward to all the temptations on the buffet table? There are many ways to keep your calorie intake under control during New Year’s festivities. Try these tips from Duke Diet & Fitness Center and see which ones work for you:

  • Survey the entire table before you take any food. Decide what foods are worth eating and what can be ignored, and then stick to that decision. Why waste calories on foods that don’t bring you pleasure?
  • Eat a snack before you leave home. If you arrive at a party starving, you’ll be more likely to overindulge.
  • Eat your calories instead of drinking them. Stick to lower calorie or calorie-free drinks (diet sodas, water, light beer, or wine spritzer) instead of punches, eggnogs, and mixed drinks that can have up to 500 calories per cup.
  • Sip a large glass of water between every alcoholic drink or non-alcoholic punch or eggnog. This will help keep you hydrated and you’ll drink fewer calories by the end of the night.
  • When you are the host or hostess, include nutritious and lower-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats on the menu. When you are a guest, bring along a lower-calorie dish to share.
  • Try not to hang out near the food. Find a comfortable spot across the room and focus on people instead of eating.
  • Watch your portion sizes. Don’t cover your plate completely with food. In most cases, especially when it comes to holiday sweets and alcoholic beverages, less is better.
  • Drop out of the “clean plate club”. Leave a few bites behind every time you eat, especially if you are eating something you don’t really care for.
  • Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but take a small portion, eat slowly, and savor the taste and texture of the wonderful foods of the season.