The holidays are a whirlwind of parties and happy hours. Every event may seem like an excuse to splurge, but the consequence just might be the worst kind of post-party affliction: a food hangover. These 5 tips to save calories are so easy to follow you won’t even miss that extra scoop of creamy dip.
—Holley Grainger, M.S., R.D.
Rest up the night before a holiday fête by getting at least seven hours of sleep. A recent study found that after a short night’s sleep adults ate about an extra 300 calories and tended to choose higher-fat, higher-calorie foods. When women lack sleep they may feel less full after eating, while men tend to have an increased appetite. By getting your zzzs, you’ll save calories and make healthier choices.
Choose your first buffet picks wisely. Research suggests that you’ll consume the largest quantity of the foods you eat first, so set yourself up for success by starting with something low-calorie. Try fresh veggies and hummus over chips and creamy dip to save 120 calories per serving.
Count 1-2-3 when pouring yourself a glass of wine, to get an estimated 5-ounce serving. Don’t rely on just filling up a glass halfway, since many glasses are half full with 10 ounces of wine, which quickly turns that 125-calorie glass into a 250-calorie one.
Downsize your plate to trick your brain into thinking you are eating more. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average number of calories eaten at a holiday dinner is a shocking 3,000, and that doesn’t count pre-dinner snacking. Use an appetizer or salad plate instead of a dinner plate and eat 40 percent less, cutting 1,200 calories.
Take smaller sips and bites to trick your brain into eating 30 percent fewer calories. Studies find that when you take nibbles, chew your food longer and eat slower, your brain thinks you’ve eaten more. So nibble, don’t gobble, that pecan pie: by taking smaller bites and chewing more, you’ll naturally eat less—saving around 143 calories per serving.