How can you balance your healthy eating priorities and still enjoy this festive season? Here’s how to stay in shape for the coming year: Fill up beforehand Avoid going to a party on an empty stomach. Before leaving the house, eat a high-fibre snack such as a fruit or a few pieces of wheat crackers to help curb your appetite, and prevent over-eating. Eat slowly The brain takes about 20 minutes to register fullness. Therefore, enjoy your meals by savouring the flavour of each bite. Remember your 2 + 2 Most fruit and vegetables are naturally low in fat and high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Start your meals with a generous helping of fresh salad dressed with lemon juice and a little drizzle of olive oil instead of creamy dressings. Opt for fresh fruit for dessert. Go easy on fat Over consumption of fat may lead to weight gain. Limit your consumption of cream based food (e.g. cream based pasta), food with cheese as part of the main ingredients (e.g. cheese macaroni), deep fried food (e.g. breaded food and fritters) as well as food with visible fat on meat and poultry skin. Portion Control Focus on the quality and not the quantity of food. Hence, you need not deprive yourself of your favourite food. Eat small amounts of it and avoid going for seconds. If you think this is not an option, go easy on your desserts or other mains. You can also try using smaller serving dishes to eat so the food looks abundant on your plate. Limit your alcohol Many people do not realize that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or sweetened beverages may lead to weight gain. Therefore you may want to limit your intake of such beverages. Here are some tips to help you do that. Request for plain water, sparkling mineral water, and unsweetened ice tea or sugar-free soft drinks. For house parties, you can choose to bring along reduced sugar/sugar free beverages and share it among your friends. Offer to be the designated driver so you will be obliged to limit/avoid alcoholic beverages for the safety of others. Give a firm reason for avoiding alcohol (e.g. early morning appointment). Drink slowly. Make a glass of wine last longer to avoid refills.