Five tricks for celebrating the holidays with smart and satisfying choices

Charlotte Real EstateCelebrating with friends and family over the holidays can lead to one too many glasses of eggnog and slices of pumpkin pie.

But just because the holidays include decadent indulgences, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the celebrations and treats you love.

There is a way to dive into the holidays with smart and satisfying choices, says Lisa Lillien, New York Times bestselling author and creator of

As you head into the holiday season here are Lillien’s top five tips and tricks to keep your taste buds rejoicing and your holidays delightful:

* Say yes to the right passed hors d’œuvres: Is your company party looming and you’re already dreading the platters of mini quiches and pigs in a blanket? Don’t worry; just zero on in on the lean protein and veggies. Look for crudite with salsa and shrimp cocktail. These low-calorie yet filling appetizers will take the edge off your hunger without weighing you down.

* Happy hour done right: Eggnog is delicious, but a single cup without alcohol has around 400 calories. For something seasonal yet sensible, try a mixed drink made with one shot of fruity flavored vodka, club soda and a splash of cranberry juice. Wine and champagne are also good options.

* Cuckoo for chocolate: Everywhere you look chocolate candies and pastries tempt your taste buds, but those come with a high-calorie price tag. Luckily, you can have your candy and eat it too. When a chocolate craving hits, look for lower-calorie options like Skinny Cow Candy. These treats have 120 calories or less per serving and are completely delicious. They come in four flavors including milk and dark chocolate Dreamy Clusters and milk chocolate or peanut butter Heavenly Crisp bars.

* Don’t deprive yourself of seasonal favorites: From pumpkin and apple pie a la mode to stuffing and holiday ham, tons of special treats show up during the holidays. You can still enjoy them, just in moderation. Instead of scooping a huge pile of stuffing on your plate, put just enough to satisfy a craving; then fill your plate with veggies and lean meat. For dessert, skip the “a la mode” and just have a few bites of your favorite sweet indulgence.

* Snack attack: If you allow yourself to get super-hungry before the big meal, there’s a good chance that you’re going to overdo it when dinner is served. Have a satisfying snack beforehand, like an apple, a container of fat-free yogurt, or a stick of light string cheese. Then you can focus on making smart decisions and enjoying the holiday festivities.

If you keep to these tips this holiday season, you won’t need that “undo the holiday damage” resolution this January.

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