How to Eat Smart at Holiday Parties

Skip the goodies? We don't think so. Here's how to celebrate the season without depriving yourself—or overindulging.

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  1. Smart Start: When appetizers make the rounds, opt for one you're really craving, even if it seems indulgent. A few scrumptious bites of something you love—mmm, bacon-wrapped scallops—will satisfy your munchies and set you up for a sane meal. If you spend the cocktail hour choking down celery sticks, your willpower will shrivel during the main course.
  2. Meal Plan: Most holiday gatherings have enough food to feed a small nation. Your first step? Forget the idea of sampling everything—the more variety on your plate, the more likely you are to overeat. Instead, choose a few special dishes to savor. Round out your meal with light, nutritious fare such as baked squash and roasted carrots.
  3. Sweet Talk: People tend to dish out bigger portions to others than to themselves—fine for salad, but a problem with pie. Offer to slice your own sliver, and keep it to 1½ inches at the crust end. If you're handed a supersize serving, split it with a tablemate.
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