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Waistline-friendly tips for holiday party hoppers

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With so many food-filled festivities, it's easy to understand why many of us gain weight during the holiday season. At times, we may even find ourselves double-booked with more than one party to attend in one night.

Resisting the mouthwatering appetizers and delectable desserts at each party can be a challenge for the calorie-conscious. Need advice to help you get through those holly, jolly festivities? Here are waistline-friendly tips for party hoppers from Lisa Talamini, Jenny Craig's senior dietitian and director of program development and nutrition.

*Pace yourself. If you know you have more than one party to attend during the evening, don't fall into the trap of overeating. For
example, eat only from the vegetable platter at the first party.

*Make people and conversation the focus, not the food.

*Position yourself away from the buffet table.

*Before eating, ask yourself if you're really hungry or just eating because it's there. Be selective about your calories. Don't waste calories on food you don't really want to eat.

*Bring a bottle of water in your car. Between parties, fill up on water.

*Try low-calorie alternatives to alcoholic drinks: Virgin Cosmopolitan (cranberry juice, sparkling water with a twist of lime); diet soda with a lemon wedge; Virgin Mary (tomato juice with pepper and spices); wine spritzer (half wine, half soda water); light or nonalcoholic beer.

*If any of your parties involve buffet dinners, keep the portion sizes below in mind. Each represents a single serving.

-- 1/2 cup potatoes or pasta = small fist
-- 1 cup casserole = kitchen sponge
-- 1/3 cup rice = espresso cup
-- 3 ounces meat = deck of cards
-- 4 ounces fish = sunglasses case

*Save dessert for the last party -- make it fun and split a sweet treat with a spouse or friend.

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