Ghosts of binges past can turn you into a food Scrooge, dodging seasonal celebrations to avoid the fattening feasts that go with them.
"Holidays are for connecting with family and friends," says Christine M. Palumbo, RD, the Illinois chair of delegates for the American Dietetic Association. "Unfortunately, most events come with food attached."
Follow her tips to make merry without adding a pound.
1. Scan the buffet for shrimp with cocktail sauce-virtually fat free and high in protein, iron, and the antioxidant lycopene.
2. Switch out of holiday mode as soon as the party's over; don't turn Thanksgiving through New Year's into one long binge.
3. Save calories for only new, interesting foods; have one taste of each.
4. Take your camera and be the designated photographer; you can't eat while snapping wriggling kids.
5. Indulge in a single serving of your favorite holiday treat at a restaurant with a friend instead of testing your willpower by keeping it around the house.
6. Alternate alcoholic drinks with calorie-free sparkling water.
7. Destroy the plate. If you've had enough to eat but others are still picking, dump salt over any food you have left.
8. Brush up your small talk; talking slows down eating.
9. Don't arrive at the party starving; the fat in an ounce of nuts and the protein in a glass of skim milk will blunt your appetite, studies show.
10. Avoid feeling deprived and food-distracted all evening long-allow yourself one dessert or holiday truffle per event.