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  • Shannon Crocker RD

10 Tips to Survive Holiday Parties: Part 2

In Part 1 of my 10 Tips to Survive Holiday Parties, I gave you strategies to help you navigate a holiday party as a guest. But what if you are the host?

I’ve created these final four tips to surviving the holiday party especially for the host with the most:

7. Serve fewer food choices.

Studies show that the more choice (flavours, smells and colours) available, the more people will eat, whether they’re hungry or not. So, less variety at a holiday table is actually better.

I like to keep my party food choices to a minimum but I make sure they are all scrumptious. I balance healthy with more indulgent foods so there is choice for everyone. And there are always vegetables.

At my cookie swap this year, I offered three items, and my gal pals raved about them:

  • Cucumber slices topped with lime crema, sea salt and jumbo shrimp

  • Loaded hummus (yes, it is as good as it sounds! Get the recipe here.) with veggies and pretzel crisps

  • Ginger cheese with hazelnut ginger crackers

And the best part? Okay, yes, aside from spending time with friends and family… Having only a few really fantastic food items means less prep work and cleanup for you. You’re welcome!

8. Use small plates.

Size matters! (I’m talking plate size people, geesh!) Appetizer-size plates let you keep portions of your favourite holiday foods in check. It’s a bit of a mind-trick. You’ll have less food on a small plate, but it will seem like you’ve eaten more than you have. And that means you’ll likely be satisfied with smaller or more appropriate portions.

9. Make baked goods bite-size.

One way to get the great taste of the treats you love without overdoing it is to serve cookies and bars in bite-size portions. If you cut a Nanaimo bar into a few pieces, I’m sure someone else will appreciate the small taste too.

Now, as long as you don’t keep going back to the treat table to get a few more bites, several times, you’re good.

I use a heaping teaspoon of batter when baking holiday cookies. It makes the perfect size cookie – you get the great taste you want in a bit size morsel.

10. Offer Doggie Bags!

Buy a few small cardboard take out containers or decorative treat bags and package up all the extra goodies to send home with friends and family. Or, freeze treats to enjoy at another occasion so you’re not tempted to eat them all “before they go bad” over the next few days. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Vibrantly Yours,



Dietitians of Canada. Is there an effect of food availability and accessibility on energy intakes? In: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition [PEN]. 2012 September 03 [cited 2014 Jul 28]. Available from: Access only by subscription or sign up for a free two week trial.

Robinson E. et al. Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(4):728-42. [cited 2014 Jul 29].

Popkin BM et al. Water, Hydration and Health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(8):439-458. [cited 2014 July 30].

Ryan AJ et al. Consumption of carbonated and noncarbonated sports drinks during prolonged treadmill exercise in the heat. In J Sport Nutr. 1991 Sep; 1(3):225-39.

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