The Laughing Cow – Post 5

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and The Laughing Cow.

I love the holiday season for a whole host of reasons: the weather, the family time, the football, the Thanksgiving dinner, the roaring fires, the Christmas trees, the Harry Connick, Jr. Christmas CD, the twinkling lights that make everything look beautiful.

And there’s one other thing that I really, REALLY love about the holiday season, though it probably isn’t an entirely positive object of my affection:

THE APPETIZERS.

Oh, y’all. I adore appetizers. And it seems like the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to make lots of them. After all, you never know when someone might stop by. Plus, since November and December are pretty much the only months of the year when I really BAKE (as opposed to cook), we like to scatter lots of sweet treats among our selection of appetizers. After all, how in the world could I possibly offer our guests something savory without also offering them something sweet? It only stands to reason that I would HAVE TO HAVE both.

It’s a purely selfless act, you understand.

But the problem, of course, is that if I give into all my cravings – with the appetizers and sweets at the top of the list – over the holidays, then I’m going to find myself in need of a new wardrobe when January rolls around. And while I would never claim to emerge from the holiday season in better shape than when I started it, I do keep a few tips in the back of my mind that help me make it through all of our holiday festivities without wreaking too much weight-related havoc.

Ready? Here we go.

1) Keep healthier snack options on hand at all times.

I have a terrible habit of snacking and tasting while I’m cooking and baking. And obviously if I choose to snack on cake batter and cheesecake batter and cookie dough and all manner of butter-laden confections, I’m going to be in a world of hurt by the end of the holidays. So I make a point to buy whole wheat crackers, small packets of cheese (The Laughing Cow Original is a long-time favorite), peanut butter and almonds so that I always have filling, healthier snacks in the kitchen.

2) Eat a healthy snack at home before heading out to a holiday party.

Now I don’t mean to sound like Scarlett O’Hara before she went to the barbecue, but it’s so much easier to resist the temptations of fattening party foods if you’re not ravenous when you arrive. It’s pretty remarkable how much a healthy snack helps. So about 15 minutes before we walk out the door, I’ll fix myself a little plate with almonds, cheese and whole-grain crackers. That little plate goes a long way in terms of keeping me from falling face-down into a pile of 7-layer Mexican dip, and for that we’re all quite thankful.

3) Use smaller plates at holiday meals.

Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t have any intention of serving my guests a meal on a saucer. But modern dinner plates are HUGE – the size of charger plates, practically – so I make a point to use my very old-fashioned holiday china when we entertain. The plates are considerably smaller than what passes for normal these days, and you can fill it to the brim with food without feeling guilty. The smaller plate keeps portions much more manageable, and even better is the fact that you don’t feel completely stuffed when the meal is over. That’s a win-win.

Now it’s your turn – Share tip on how you keep holiday food from getting the best of you and you could win a $150 Visa card! Please keep your comments G-rated as any profanity or offensive content will automatically disqualify you from sweepstakes entry. You should also visit The Daily Dose of Well-Being hub to read helpful content each day and for weekly chances to win $100 at the “Play For Laughs” game. If you share a really great tip, we may even use it in The Daily Dose!

And don’t miss the other bloggers’ posts – you have 11 other chances to win each month!

Questions about the sweepstakes? Check out the official rules. This sweepstakes will run from 11/15-12/5

Happy Laughing Cow, everybody!

This giveaway is now closed.

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Comments

  1. I’m keeping a food journal to make sure I don’t go over on calories.

  2. I eat small meals, never large ones, and I don’t eat at everyone’s house that we visit
    and walk daily
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  3. tweeted
    http://twitter.com/ChelleB36/status/5146877934702592
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  4. Avoid all those yummy dips at the holiday parties. The sour cream, mayo, and cream cheese really add up!
    Too bad they’re my favorite!

  5. One thing that’s helped is being lactose intolerant – I know the consequences, so I avoid the fattening, cheesy, sour creamy treats. I guess no one can just run out and become lactose intolerant, can they… So, a more practical thing that I do – I fill the vast majority of my plate with healthy stuff like veggies, then use the small area left for unhealthy stuff. I don’t feel like I’m denying myself, but I keep my jeans fitting!

  6. I make sure that breakfast stays the same as always: whole grain toast or a bowl of cereal (not just for me but for the kids, too). that makes me feel better about what gets consumed later in the day!

  7. I try to eat a big salad before we leave, or hit the veggie tray first when we get there. I also try to just enjoy the holiday spread and know that the other 11 months of the year I eat really healthy. Truthfully, I’m finally learning to pay attention to how I feel after I eat things (yes, I am a slow learner) and that often makes me not eat the ‘bad’ stuff.

  8. The best thing my husband’s extended family did last year and will do again this year is going out to eat. There are measured portions. One piece of dessert. And no leftovers. I heartily miss the leftovers, but it definitely keeps one from over-indulging!

    And the leisurely Thanksgiving morning is nice, too!

  9. Maybe I’ll be the odd one out here and say that, in answer to your question, I DON’T do anything to keep holiday food from getting the best of me. It’s a holiday, the parties only come once a year, and my small children burn all the extra calories off of me (or so I like to tell myself). I eat very healthy every day all year long, so I don’t stress over extra carbs every once in a while.

  10. small bites of whatever I’m craving – the holidays are a time for celebration and it is okay to splurge seasonally

  11. I just always eat everything in moderation!! I love to try a little bit of everything but I give myself very small servings!! I also eat very slow which seems to help!

  12. Stephanie says:

    I just make sure to not eat past the point of being “stuffed!”

  13. I usually limit the extra eating to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We travel out of town so the leftovers never come home with us.

  14. Everything in moderation! Enjoy the season and the celebrations but limit the portion sizes.

  15. Eat smaller portions!!

  16. I eat small portions and don’t let myself get full!

  17. Melissa Adams says:

    I love finger foods at parties. So, if I’m trying to be good, I go for the healthier options. I might also eat a small bowl of cereal before heading to the event. I could live on cereal.

  18. Remind myself that I don’t have to have a taste of EVERYTHING! Sometimes eating less variety of foods makes you feel more satisfied than eating little bits of a lot of different things.

  19. Can I still enter even if I don’t have a plan? The holidays are brutal….

  20. I plan to stay busy to keep from eating all the leftovers due to “boredom.”

  21. Protein is the key. I eat small portions of protein every 2.5 hours to keep myself from getting crazy starving hungry. If you tell yourself, “I can eat again in 2.5 hours,” then you’re a more likely to stay in control of your eating. Not always, of course. But more likely than I would be otherwise.

  22. A few years ago I started eating more protein and fewer carbs which helps me stay full longer.
    Now I am training for a race, so if I eat bad, the running is not fun as my body is sluggish, so that helps me stay motivated to eat better and not pig out.

  23. Still trying to figure out a way….reading these tips helps!

  24. I’m planning on walking an extra mile durning the holidays, so I can enjoy the food!! Happy Holidays everyone!

  25. Sadly, I don’t really do much of anything. I may take smaller amounts, but I eat what I want. I’d rather work out more than to deny myself all of that good food!

  26. I eat right everyday but the day the holiday is on. Then on that day I eat whatever I want!

  27. I normally try to start every meal with a decent sized salad. That way I’m less ravenous when the less healthy food is available.

  28. 3 years of W.W. taught me to remember that this food comes around every year, don’t eat like it is the last time you will ever get to eat it. It is not your last supper! That has helped me keep perspective!

  29. Drink lots of water all day long so I’m more full when it comes time to eat. Plus, I’m hydrated!

  30. I also try to just eat the fun stuff only on the actual holiday, and stop before I’m “full”. And I up my water intake.

  31. I make sure I’m not starving before a meal or going to a party and I look for the veggies and make sure I eat some of those before overindulging on the high calorie stuff. I also try to exercise a little more.

  32. Cathy Santerre says:

    I always make sure there’s a veggie on the plate and have a one plate only rule. No refills.

  33. I try, often unsuccessfully, to exercise a bit more, as I really enjoy all those Christmas goodies and they don’t come around but once a year. After I am usually unsuccessful at the increased exercise, I just make it one of my new year’s resolutions!

  34. I spoon “just a taste” on to my pate and that way I get to try it, but not over indulge myself..and I am usually full by the time I’m done :)

  35. I drink a ton of water, and I try to remember to quit eating before I am really full.

  36. I eat only small portions and never take an entire dish of sweets back home! I will eat the WHOLE thing so I try to give the leftovers away before I go home…

    Melanie

  37. this year, I’m going to try to drink A LOT of water – especially before I head out to holiday get-togethers!

  38. I just get a tiny bit of everything so that I don’t feel stuffed but don’t feel slighted either!

  39. I find that if I make it a point to spend some time with each person at a holiday gathering, I hardly have time to eat more than a smidge of anything!

  40. I eat the things that I enjoy at special gatherings, but I try to keep most of my other meals during this season the same as usual.

  41. I try and make the food look really pretty when I’m filling my plate, and huge portions just don’t look pretty. :-)

  42. Holiday food does not get the best of me. I get the best of holiday food. Food actually doesn’t have calories on Thanksgiving or Christmas… did you know that?! We can worry about health and nutrition the other 363 days of the year.

  43. Since holidays tend to be a time of indulgence….I try to set portion control. I also guzzle the water.

    Eating several small meals packed with protein is good too!

  44. To stay clear of the chips and variety of dips – I have no willpower when it comes to the dip!

  45. I try to not spend time near the food table — if I have to go out of my way to get back to the snacks, I’m less likely to refill my plate. I also eat a small bit of things I love, thinking of the “5 bites” premise from the book “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” :o)

    I have genetically high cholesterol, so I TRY to sample, but not each much of, the fatty snacks!

  46. Mary Helen says:

    Those are great tips! I have a hard time around the holidays. This year, I am pregnant and I do not need to gain any more weight that I am already gaining, so it will be even more important! I try to make sure that I keep up with my exercising (walking) routine so that I don’t feel guilty if I want to have something special. However, if we have sweets at our house, I have to get rid of them before too long!

  47. I remember its the Holidays and it is ok to indulge on a occasion. I eat healthy then at parties eat small portions of the things I love.

  48. On one hand I’m lucky…I don’t *like* things that are ‘mushed up–all mixed together’ or containing mayonnaise, but on the OTHER hand I have a *WICKED* sweet tooth. So my tip is to TRY and limit myself or take 1/2 portions-or share- from the sweets table.

  49. Stop eating when you are full is a good rule to go with.

  50. By letting myself have small portions of everything I am craving, and eating slowly, I can usually ward off the temptation of having that second (or third) delicious dinner roll. But who am I kidding, sometimes it’s just fun to indulge! :)

  51. Tracy Marlow says:

    Drink lots of water and eat only little amounts of what I really like.

  52. I personally just let the holiday food get the best of me. It comes once a year and I enjoy every bite!
    I will admit I try to limit my sugar, if I can, so I will do things like forgo sugar in my coffee so I can eat a bunch of Christmas cookies instead.

  53. I usually choose water as my drink so I don’t use up calories that way! :)

  54. Keep working out no matter what I eat! I try to limit my portions of sugar and go for the more filling foods of the holidays.

  55. Melissa B. says:

    My motto is, if you don’t have unhealthy food in the house then you can’t eat it, so I try and make sure I never go to the grocery store hungry, otherwise I’ll be tempted to buy too many snack foods.

  56. I use the Weight Watchers way of writing things down so you can visually see what you have eaten. The point system really works for me!

  57. I am always the one that cooks…so sadly I have to taste everything before I serve it…but usually I am so full by the turkey time that I only eat a small amount of food. I guess that is kind of like eating small meals throughout the day.

  58. I try to exercise everyday, but remember to get plenty of sleep. The less sleep I have, the less self-control I have, and that can equal trouble!

  59. Carmen Joy says:

    Only eat what you REALLY like. Skip the fillers. And workout…

  60. I have a little bit of everything, but not to much of anything. AND I keep moving. Going out for a walk in the fresh country air, always does me and my family good after a holiday meal.

  61. Susan Smith says:

    I keep to my exercise routine during the holidays. When I go to parties, I try to fill up on proteins, vegetables and fruits and drink water. I sample the goodies, espcially the egg nog.

  62. Susan Smith says:
  63. I know better than to think that I’m really going to be moderate when I’m at a holiday party or family dinner – come on now! So…I have a “salad and diet shake” day after each of the days of indulgence and I am vigilant about my exercise routine during the holidays.

  64. Tyler Reavis says:

    I have a calorie counter app on my phone that helps me keep track of my eating. Drink plenty of water. And remember, it’s the holidays! Indulge just a little bit. :)

  65. I don’t let any food touch another food on my plate. Little islands. I take a little of each holiday dish and then when I’m done, I stick the dish in the sink and don’t go back for seconds. Plus I eat one dessert! Hey, it’s only for one day and the next day I get back on track!

  66. Increasing my water intake and adding an extra day to weekly workouts really helps me enjoy yet not gain.

    Blessings

    amanda

  67. I’ve enjoyed reading all these tips and I agree that drinking water throughout the day helps.

  68. Elizabeth C. says:

    I try to count calories and eat a salad before I go.

  69. Portion control! I also try to eat a healthy breakfast so that I don’t get as hungry during the day.

  70. I try to eat a little something healthy before going to a party. I also try to keep up my exercise plan to help counteract all the goodies I eat around the holidays!

  71. Cristy Thayn says:

    Moderation. That’s the key!

  72. My tip is this, eat slow, drink a lot of water with your meals and inbetween and grab the vegetables and dip first.

    gmissycat at yahoo dot com

  73. Tweeted here too

    http://twitter.com/gmissycat/status/6431993617195008

    gmissycat at yahoo dot com

  74. ANGEL JACKLYN says:

    HONESTLY, I DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT COME THE HOLIDAYS BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE THAT IS THE TIME TO “SLURGE”. IT’S ALMOST LIKE COME TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS IT’S A TREAT AND I DESERVE IT. BUT FOR ANYONE THAT DOES WORRY, BUY A GYM MEMBERSHIP. kytah00@yahoo.com

  75. ANGEL JACKLYN says:

    TWEETED THIS GIVEAWAY AS WELL! http://twitter.com/#!/kytah00/status/6475475668963328

    kytah00 at yahoo dot com

  76. My tip is to enjoy the holidays…but exercise just a bit more, and drink a little more water:-) Thanks for the fantastic giveaway.

  77. I practice a “two-thirds/one-third” rule with my dinner plate. The entree, whatever it is, can take up 1/3 of the plate. Vegetables and fruits must fill 2/3rds of the plate. This is my simple weight-control tip which requires no measuring or weighing.

  78. Enjoy the holiday with Weight watchers recipes and a turkey of course.
    marybug2@yahoo.com

  79. I just take a little of everything but try not to have huge portions. I don’t really limit myself, because I don’t overeat when it’s not the holidays!

  80. I try to eat before I go to a party, like you mentioned. I also try to not keep too much going in the house.

  81. I try to have a healthy snack before I head out to a holiday party. G My favorite website for healthy snack ideas is http://www.snack-girl.com/

  82. Since eating is comforting and nostalgic to me, I bought some candy cane tea from TJ’s, its green tea and fights off the nighttime snacking of the countless cookies I’ve been baking. Also, I’ve been keeping my cup of water FULL all day long and drinking enough to keep my belly from rumbling. It also helps to choose water every time, eat, instead of drink the calories!!

  83. Like you mentioned, I try to eat something healthy before heading out the door. I also try to keep a glass of water handy (or some other calorie free drink) because I think half the battle for me is keeping my mouth occupied. :) If we go to a gathering where we bring something along to share, I try to bring something healthy like a fruit or veggie tray.

  84. I only eat the things that I am not likely to have at other times of the year and/or that are unusually good. So, as much as I love Rotel dip and chips, I might not go for that at a holiday function.

    Then again, I might.

  85. I try to not deprive myself of anything, otherwise I will eventually cave and really overdue it!

  86. I usually pick the things that I like best to splurge on. I avoid eating unhealthy things that I think are just OK or that I eat often, and use my extra calories on things I love and that I don’t get to eat very often.

  87. Ruth Anderson says:

    I will be cooking the Big Meal this week what I do is sample the food a bite at a time . Then when we sit down I don” t eat as much.

  88. I do my daily “praise walk” of 30 mins w/ my Ipod in my ears…..and I splurge just a little on sweets…try to keep breakfast “normal” and count calories!

  89. fill up on carrots, celery, etc!

  90. I make sure that my food contribution is healthy so I know I’ll have at least one good thing there to eat.

  91. I agree with your tips about smaller plates and eating a healthy snack at home before gatherings. If I am at a family gathering, I try to take a few leftovers home with me so I can stretch the indulgence out and not feel like I have to overdo it in one sitting. Not sure if that’s a great tip, but it works for me! :)

  92. i always eat before i go to any party and then get a glass of water to hold and sip so i’m not tempted to eat!

  93. I never go hungry…I always eat breakfast (and lunch if it’s a late gathering) so I can eat a normal sized meal.

  94. I watch my portions…everything in moderation and I keep my appointment with my walking shoes!

  95. Sandra Brower says:

    I do enjoy my holiday food so I have to try to hedge off a little weight before the holidays hit. It is so much easier to resist temptation when you don’t have all those yummy varieties of decadence around you all the time. So like Christmas shopping I start early and start cutting back in the Summer and making sure we all have rounded out diets before the official holiday season starts. When you can look in the mirror and know you worked on getting yourself healthier and fitting into your favorite jeans it helps you to enjoy the little treats at Thanksgiving and Christmas without the guilt and without going over board. Like you I believe in portion control so although I will serve others on my regular China, I will put a smaller plate or saucer on top of mine and judge my portions accordingly. I have had a few relatives to ask for the same so I am in good company. :)I eat healthy on a regular basis so I know it isn’t doing me much harm when I go out with my friends and opt for dessert only or enjoy a seafood feast. I just get right back onto my healthy eating routine right after I have indulged a little. I don’t let myself feel bad about enjoying my food. There are so many delicious dishes out there and although I am not on a mission to try them all, I think I should enjoy a lot of them. I just pace myself and I am always thinking to myself that I can have and eat anything I want I just may have to plan a little to enjoy it. So, today I had healthy meals and drank plenty of water. Tomorrow, though, I will be enjoying all my favorites even if I have to slice it into smaller portions. Nothing will go to waste I am sure there will be someone around who can finish the rest who has a much higher metabolism than I do. :) My mother always told me that if you don’t want the weight to catch up with you, you have to keep moving. So, with that in mind, our living room activity for Thanksgiving and Christmas will be Dance Dance Revolution. I love dancing. We always danced when my mother had people over. I think we should bring it back in style and enjoy each other while we all keep moving..moving to the beat.

  96. I make sure I eat breakfast so I don’t get so starving that I then go crazy. I try to get a little of everything instead of a lot. We have appetizers too so we don’t stand and eat 1/2 the turkey while we’re slicing it.

  97. I put a small spoon in the bowls for serving…it is a good trick because then you won’t load up your plate. You don’t want to be the person holding up the line scooping 10 small spoonfuls on your plate!