Healthy Food Choices Before a Holiday Party

You know you’ll be tempted by canapes and eggnog in the evening, but nourishing yourself properly the day of the party can help you make better decisions later.

Start with breakfast

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You’ll be eating a lot of rich food at the party this evening, so you should save calories in the morning, right? Wrong. Skip breakfast and you’ll probably end up eating way more fatty food at the event, adding up to even more calories than you “saved” earlier. “When we’re starving, it’s harder to make healthier choices,” says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson. “We want sugar for instant energy and fat to build calorie stores in case we don’t eat again soon. It’s an evolutionary response to going too long between meals.” Here’s how to avoid 15 other weight-loss mistakes everyone makes.

Pack in protein early

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Getting 10 to 20 grams of protein at breakfast will keep you full and reduce cravings for the rest of the day, says Armul. Pair it with fiber for an even more satisfying meal. “Fiber helps fill you up, and protein helps keep you full,” she says. Steer clear of simple carbs like a bagel or white toast, which don’t have much of either. Instead, fill up on eggs with a side of fruit, or peanut butter on whole-grain toast. Try these other 20 ways to beat post-holiday weight gain.

Skip the sweet coffee

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That seasonal peppermint mocha might be calling your name, but you could save 250 calories by ordering a plain low-fat latte without the sugary syrup and whipped cream. “People are busy during holidays and have more things on their plate figuratively, so they’re having high-calorie energy drinks or sweetened tea or specialty coffee drinks,” says Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, CLT, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson. For that cozy flavor you crave, she suggests sprinkling cinnamon or cocoa powder on a plain latte. Treat your loved ones (and yourself!) to these 15 healthy holiday food gifts that aren’t fruit cake.

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