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With the Christmas party season in full swing there’s temptation all around on the food and drink front, both at home and work. It sometimes seems as if you can’t move without someone offering you a mince pie or a glass of wine, or shoving a tin of Quality Street under your nose! And when you go to someone else’s home it seems rude not to accept what’s on offer. Of course there’s nothing wrong with having a few treats during the festive season, but it’s all too easy to completely lose control of your eating and drinking and consume thousands of extra calories. The result can be a few extra pounds in weight which will either have to be shifted in the new year or sit on your waistline indefinitely! However, if you make a few careful choices it is still possible to enjoy yourself at parties without piling on the pounds – so here are a few tips to help you through the celebrations.

Have something small but satisfying to eat before you go out. In the rush to get ready between office and party it isn’t always possible to make a proper meal, but try to grab a wholesome snack containing protein and fibre like a bowl of high-fibre cereal with milk, muesli and yoghurt or peanut butter on toast. This will mean you’re less tempted to pick at naughty snacks once you’re out, and we all know that most parties are a minefield of unhealthy food options. Buffets are always loaded with fatty things like pork pies, quiches, sausage rolls and crisps… all very tasty, but disastrous for those who are trying to watch their weight! Healthier choices to nibble on would be crudités with houmous, Twiglets, olives, cherry tomatoes or pretzels. Nuts are high in calories, but at least they have some nutritional value, containing ‘good’ fats.

It’s also possible to save loads of calories by being careful about what you drink. First of all, do you really need to start drinking before you even leave the house?! There’ll be plenty of opportunity once you get to the party! The bad guys drinks-wise are wine and beer, which are full of sugar; a large glass of wine contains around the same calories as two slices of bread and butter! A better option would be vodka with a low-calorie mixer. Fruit juice may seem like a healthy option, but again contains masses of sugar – even though it’s natural it still has lots of calories! And remember – if the party goes on well into the night you don’t have to keep drinking for hours on end; after a few alcoholic drinks, why not move on to soft ones? Yes, I know it sounds boring, but honestly, you’ll hardly notice the difference and your head will really thank you for it in the morning! If you can’t do that, at least try to alternate alcoholic with soft drinks throughout the evening.

There’s no need to deny yourself everything during the party season, but careful selection of what you choose to eat and drink will mean you don’t have to deprive yourself in the new year to atone for too much naughtiness.