Before partying, prepare ahead of time

Dec. 24, 2012 at 8:26 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Holiday parties are the perfect way to wrap up the year, but to guard against overdoing food and drinks, a U.S. expert suggests preparing beforehand.

Lori Rosenthal, a dietitian at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said one of the most important things to do before a holiday party is to eat a healthy snack before leaving home.

"In a party atmosphere, we often throw the rule book out the window and treat ourselves more than usual," Rosenthal said in a statement. "Even the most disciplined can let their guard down, filling up on food and drink and doing things that we later wish we hadn't."

Rosenthal suggested to:

-- Hydrate beforehand leaving home because it can reduce the desire to eat and drink a lot later.

-- Scope out food options before diving in. Scan the buffet table first and then choose wisely.

-- Take a smaller plate to keep portions size down.

-- Stand away from the table because it reduces the ease to snack.

-- Alternate between a glass of water and an alcoholic drink. Sip cocktails slowly.

-- Keep track of how many drinks consumed.

-- Rehydrate to avoid a post-party headache and because it counteracts the high-sodium party foods consumed the night before.

-- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish or walnuts, because they have an anti-inflammatory effect, and eating potassium-rich fruits and vegetables like bananas, kiwis and mangos, help replenish electrolytes.

-- If you choose a drink with electrolytes, try a sugar-free option to avoid excess calories.

"Holiday festivities are all about having fun, but we also should make good decisions about our health," Rosenthal said.

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