Not ready for another excessively large meal on New Year's Eve? It's never easy to hold back on festive occasions. Here are some dos and don'ts to avoid over-celebrating.
Don't start off thirsty
Drink water so as to avoid sitting down to eat when you are thirsty. Having quenched your thirst, it is much easier to savor small sips from a glass of wine. And as for how much you intend to drink, set yourself a maximum of three or four glasses in the course of the evening: for example, one or two glasses of champagne and one or two glasses of wine. Switch to sparkling water while you are eating. As to what's on your plate, remind yourself that the meal will be a long one and it is important to avoid eating too much too soon. The best policy is to make a point of tasting everything while refusing second portions. Follow this advice and you won't need to go on a crash diet in the run-up to the party.
Practice mindful eating
Very much in the news in the United States, mindful eating involves adopting a meditative attitude to food and the way you eat it. It advocates chewing better and tuning in to a sensation of fullness which can help you cut back on quantities and avoid mealtime stress. The goal is to learn to differentiate between hunger signals and other nervous messages that should not -- but do -- make us reach for more food (stomach cramps, pins and needles, mental fatigue etc.). Eating mindfully does not necessarily mean eating alone, it can be done in company. Ideally you should take some time to practice between now and December 31.
Make the right food choices
If you are invited to a dinner, try to find out what is on the menu so that you can plan what you will eat. The idea is to avoid bingeing on everything. Opt for traditional seafood and smoked salmon, both of which are much lighter than foie gras. Avoid stuffing, bacon and sauces. Where possible, choose cooked vegetables and poultry instead. As for dessert, opt for something small and light like a sorbet, or a small serving of fromage blanc or fruit mousse.
Talk more and eat less
Festive dinners are for spending quality time with people you love. Give them your attention and take an interest in what they say. Often eating puts a brake on discussion, so sit back on the couch or on your chair at the dinner table and tune in on the conversation. If you are at a buffet, try to engage in a conversation with someone before you pick up your plate.
Avoid vexed questions
Everyone has experienced parties marred by family fights, and arguments caused by contentious subjects like religion and politics. Some of us tend to respond to the annoyance of acrimony at the dinner table by eating too much. If you are irritated by a topic of conversation or the behavior of another guest, put down your fork and remain seated. Talk out the issue calmly, or if necessary, excuse yourself and leave the table.