Planning, Substitutions Prevent Holiday Diet Disasters

Ttis the season for parties - and plates filled with goodies!

When it comes to negotiating the holiday party season without a major diet disaster, Cotton-O'Neil Heart Center Dietician Sabrina Bublitz, RD/LD says to set realistic expectations. She says expecting to lose weight during the holiday season may only be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, she says the goal should be to maintain your current weight.

Bublitz says to think ahead and have a light snack before going to a party so you're not too hungry. When you arrive, don't just dive in to the buffet. Bublitz says to look over the table and see what you can do without and what you can't, and don't waste calories on what you can do without.

Beware of the empty calories in alcohol, soda pop and egg nog! Bublitz says avoid those by making it a point to drink water in between bites of food and conversations. Jazz it up with lemon or sparkling varieties.

Fruits and veggies are always good to keep on the plate - just beware of high-fat or high-sugar dips.

If you're the one cooking, try changing a few things up. Bublitz suggests substituting fat-free or low-fat evaporated milk for regular evaporated milk or heavy cream. Also, switch to 2-percent milk cheeses instead of whole milk and reduced fat sour creams or cream cheeses. In desserts, try using half Splenda and half sugar to cut the calories. You can also substitute apple sauce for the oil in most recipes.

Whatever you choose, Bublitz says don't make it about denial.

"Enjoy what you want, in moderation, in correct portions," Bublitz says.

Bublitz also says to remember to keep exercise in your schedule. And some good news --she says the latest studies show most of us do not put on pounds over the holidays - we're just not making healthy choices.