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Parties, especially at this time of the year, can be challenging; it's tough to control your intake or abstain.

But that doesn't automatically mean a growing waistline. Try these tips from Banin Shahine, Nutrition Manager at Fitness First and enjoy a sociable evening while staying on the healthy path.

  1. Before leaving for a party, eat a little from home so you are not tempted to eat all that has been prepared at the party. At home, you have the choice to eat healthy, something protein-filled or fibre-rich. When you are at a party, you cannot make demands. You are forced to eat what has been prepared. The menu is generally something special - and more calorie-laden. So eat a little at home, just so you are not overly tempted.
  2. So you are at the party. You have to be gracious and not say no to everything that is on the dining table. Make a quick scan of what has been laid out. Take controlled portions of high-calorie dishes like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. Fill at least half your plate with salad, fruit and veggies; a quarter with lean meat or beans; and the final quarter with your favorite holiday dish. Use a small plate, which will help you eat fewer calories.
  3. Now here is a key takeaway. Eat slowly, savoring each bite. Once you've finished what's on your plate, wait 20 minutes. That's enough time to get the signal of satisfaction from the stomach to the brain.
  4. Stay away from the serving table. Once you get your food, go into another room or if you cannot do that stay as far away from the table as you can. Psychologically, when the food is out of your eyesight, you’re less likely to eat mindlessly.
  5. Tell yourself and decide ahead of time that this party is not an eating event for you.
  6. Decide ahead of the party that you will only be eating healthy things. Put your food on a single plate and stick to that. Limit your eating to only what is on this plate and nothing more. Don’t take a second serving.
  7. If the hosts have prepared or ordered a large spread, enjoy only one appetizer at a time. Savor the dishes, instead of gobbling them all up at once. You’ll give your body more time to realise there’s probably more food on the table than it should be consuming.
  8. Make sure you do not skip any meal, especially breakfast, so you can avoid overeating and binging
  9. The feeling of thirst and hunger are the same for the body. Also, water helps the body get full quicker, so have a tumbler full before you decide to eat yet another snack.
  10. Move more. Make sure you do not skip your exercise on the day of the party so you can you can burn some of the calories even before you consume them. This will also minimise that horrible feeling of guilt.
  11. Avoid soft drinks and sugary beverages as these are nutrition-less calories.
  12. While eating, divide your plate into two halves - use one half for vegetables and the other for protein and carbohydrate.