That seltzer-and-celery-stick party protocol never seems to work once the sliders and bubbly start getting passed around. Tricia Williams, NYC nutritionist and chef at Food Matters, suggests a game plan for staying slim throughout the decadent season.
1. Cut 100 to 200 calories from breakfast and lunch. A few painless strategies: drip coffee instead of a latte; brown rice cake instead of a bagel; greens instead of chips; lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil instead of dressing; lettuce instead of bread for your sandwich. (If the latter sounds extreme, consider the Korean staple dish bulgogi, where you wrap up spicy beef in lettuce. Yum!)
2. Add two teaspoons of chia seeds to iced tea or watered-down juice before you go. The seeds expand, so you feel satiated. Plus, they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which temper inflammation from excess food, alcohol, and stress.
3. Survey the foodscape. What looks most delicious? Zero in on that, steer clear of the rest.
4. Use a small plate and don't refill it. Seriously, just don't.
5. Skip your usual evening meal and treat the cocktails like a dinner party. Assuming you eat 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, you can indulge in up to a whopping 800 calories at the party (that's about 500 to 600 calories for what you'd normally have at dinner, plus the calories you nixed earlier in the day). But take note, warns Williams. Even bite-size tidbits add up. The following party treats add up to 800 calories:
Two glasses of wine.
Two pigs in a blanket (or similar foods, such as mini tacos or small sliders without the bun),
Three shrimp with a tablespoon of cocktail sauce (or citrus-based tartar).
Two tablespoons of hummus with unlimited vegetables. One fried hors d'oeuvre.
A small sweet treat (such as a brownie square or tartlet)
More from MarieClaire.com: