1. Cheese--Full-fat cheese is packed with protein, so a small amount will satisfy you quickly, which means eating some of the real deal may actually help you lose weight. Choose hard, full-flavor cheeses like Parmesan or aged Gouda, because their sharp taste helps you conquer cravings fast. These cheeses are slightly higher in calories than soft ones like Brie, but they have more protein. Stick with 1 oz-or four to five small cubes-per day.
2. Champagne--At 100 calories per 5-oz serving, champagne is one of the few naturally low-calorie beverages you can always reach for without counting calories in your head. But stick to just one glass per evening: Because of the carbonation, your body will absorb champagne faster, which means you'll feel the effect sooner than with other alcoholic beverages.
3. Roasted Nuts--The ideal pairing for a happy hour cocktail, nuts are full of fiber, which can help keep your blood sugar levels stable and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. They are high in calories, so use this rule to avoid overdoing it: Take a small handful and put it on your plate at the beginning of a party. Munch on that amount instead of grabbing nuts throughout the evening.
4. Dark Chocolate Truffles--Dark chocolate is loaded with blood pressure- and cholesterol-lowering antioxidants. And new research shows that those antioxidants can also boost your mood and calm your body's stress response. Go for one truffle-or two squares of dark chocolate containing 70% (or higher) cocoa-per day.
5. Red Wine--A study found that moderate consumption of red wine (one 5-oz glass per day for women) may help keep off weight gain thanks to piceatannol, a compound that might slow fat cell growth. Stick with one glass per evening and sip slowly.
6. Shrimp Cocktail--This seafood appetizer is high in protein and omega-3 fats, which means it can help you stay fuller longer and help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. The best part is it's also low in calories. You can fill up on nine medium shrimp for just 50 calories.
7. Spinach-Artichoke Dip--A small portion of a rich dip that contains fat can help hunger hormones, which means you'll fill up quicker on less. Also, consider what you're pairing with an indulgent dip: Load an appetizer plate full of low-calorie and fiber-filled vegetables. Cap your intake at two medium-size spoonfuls of dip per party.
3 Rules to Stay Slim This Holiday Season
1. STOP SKIPPING MEALS--If you skip food during the day to save up for a big party in the evening, think again. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism and can encourage you to overeat by sundown.
2. BALANCE WITH LIGHTER CHOICES--If you know that dinner will be heavier than usual, keep your day's food fresh and healthy.
3. WATER, SLEEP AND EXERCISE--Sounds simple, but these habits are extremely important to keep you on track throughout a hectic season. Less of any of them can lead to unwanted weight gain.