5 Party-Planning Tips for Hosting a Healthy Holiday Party
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Get entertaining tips to set up a healthy party spread and atmosphere.
Holley Grainger, M.S., R.D. | 

The holiday season is 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: the food hangover. These 5 tips to save calories when you’re hosting a party are so easy you won’t even miss that extra scoop of creamy dip.

1. Create a food-free space for your guests to mingle. Research shows that the proximity and visibility of food increases your chance of eating that food. Keeping the candy bowl or cookie plate in the other room will help you save at least 100 calories per handful or nibble (what you’d get from an iced holiday cookie or a small handful of chocolate candies).

2. Set the table for guests’ success by offering low-calorie foods first. Science suggests that when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to choose and overeat starchy foods. Start the meal with a brothy soup or a salad so you fill up on something light and have less room for starchy, buttered rolls to slash 175 calories.

3. Soften the lights and music to help guests cut their caloric intake. A new study published in Psychological Reports found that a relaxed environment increases satisfaction and decreases consumption by around 18 percent or roughly 175 calories.

4. Downsize serving bowls for family-style meals from large to medium. One study found that people helping themselves from a large bowl served 77 percent more food than those using a medium-size bowl. Serve up mashed potatoes family-style from a medium bowl and guests will serve themselves 365 fewer calories.

5. Set the bar with tall, skinny highball glasses instead of short, wide tumblers. In a recent study of college students, as much as 30 percent more liquor was poured into tumblers than highball glasses. No skinny glasses? Premix drinks for guests or provide a measured shot glass (11/2 ounces) to help them keep track of their liquor intake and eliminate up to 30 unwanted calories (about 1/2 ounce) per drink.

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