Seasonal parties aren't diet-killers

How do you keep football parties and other gatherings fun while keeping the food lower in fat and lower in calories?

It is always fun to plan the foods that will be served at parties and gatherings. Take time to sort through your recipes. Work on revising them to be lower in fat and calories.

If you want to serve dips, use fat-free sour cream or nonfat yogurt as a base. Watch your serving sizes and be careful of the number of servings that you consume. Instead of chips, dip fresh vegetables and baked pita bread.

If recipes for baked goods call for margarine, butter or oil, substitute half the amount with unsweetened applesauce.

Some of the most popular side dishes are potato salad, baked beans and coleslaw. Use a combination of nonfat yogurt and fat-free mayo to decrease the fat content while meeting dairy needs. When making baked beans, make it meatless with extra vegetables. Add fresh green peppers and celery to potato salad.

If you are attending a football party or some type of gathering, check out the food that is available. Be determined to make wise choices and plan to eat well. Select fruits, eat more vegetables, choose whole grain breads without the butter and consume smaller portions of higher-fat dishes.

In order to remain in control, have the proper attitude. Achieving and maintaining weight loss goals involves eating healthy for life. Parties and gatherings are always going to be a part of life, so learning how to handle them is one aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

Have fun during the party. Watch the game. If you find yourself hanging out in the kitchen with friends and family, you may find yourself eating more. Try visiting in another room away from the food.

Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Stick to a regular eating schedule so that you don't find yourself hungry and snacking on all of those tempting foods that you are trying to avoid. Plan on getting some exercise before going to a party or gathering. Exercise can help decrease your appetite while encouraging better food choices.

There is also the temptation of alcohol. Alcohol is not calorie-free; it yields 7 calories per gram. A 12-ounce can of beer has about 150 calories, while a 4-ounce glass of wine has about 90 calories.

Alcohol interferes with the metabolizing of nutrients and stimulates the appetite. It does not provide any nutrients. Please remember that when alcohol is consumed, fat burning stops!

Remember that the choices are yours to make, as well as the actions that will help you continue to succeed.