Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of twelve books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
Holiday season is around the corner, and if you’re determined that it won’t be like last year (or the year before that), and you’re going to stick to your healthy eating habits, here are five simple tips to make success a reality:
1. It’s tempting to “save your calories” for the party, but don’t. Eat sensibly early in the day (no meal skipping!), and have a light snack before you head out. Otherwise, you’ll likely be famished by the time you hit the festivities and might end up plunging face-first into a pile of snickerdoodles.
2. Practice cocktail control. Alternate with glasses of water, and stick with smart selections: a glass of wine, a bottle of light beer, or a mixed drink made with a single shot of clear alcohol (like rum or vodka) and a calorie-free mixer (like club soda or diet soda). Check out my Happy Hour Survival Guide. It’s crucial for these situations!
3. Calorie burn for calories earned. Make day-of exercise a priority. If you burn extra calories, you’ll have more wiggle room to consume extra calories without weight gain. Just don’t fall into the trap of “I worked out today so I can eat whatever I want.” Be smart, and keep your chill.
4. Be a savvy surveyor. Whether it’s a snack table or a full dinner spread, survey your options before diving in. Fill most of your plate with lean protein and veggies. Look for crudités, salad, shrimp cocktail, chicken skewers, turkey breast, roasted veggies, and fresh fruit. Then grab small servings of your favorite indulgent items because it is still a party.
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5. Ignorance isn’t bliss; track what you eat. Smartphones help to make this extra discreet — just jot down some basics in the notes section (or a calorie-tracking app, if you’re feeling extra dedicated). Awareness of your food intake will make you less likely to go overboard. Stay mindful and enjoy!
‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!