How to Survive the February Food Holidays on a Diet

women pizzaSeriously, can a dieter ever catch a break? Whether you define “diet” as a pre-packaged weight loss plan or simply an effort to create a healthy lifestyle, saboteurs are lurking around every corner. At the grocery store. In the office breakroom. Even on the calendar.

Following the holidays, February might be one of the biggest offenders, serving up a calorie-filled platter of Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl and Mardi Gras. What’s a girl, or guy, supposed to do? Push right through the pain!

Your will power is much stronger than any goo-filled heart could ever hope to be. Nevertheless, you’ll want to celebrate alongside everyone else. So, we’ve got some tips on how to do so, not fall off the wagon, and cruise right in to March lighter and more motivated to take on St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break!

super bowl xlivSuper Bowl XLIV – February 6

The Colts and the Saints are gearing up for professional sport’s most anticipated game, and you’re probably gearing up for a greasy buffet of finger foods. Not everyone is going to want to eat “rabbit food,” including yourself, during the football game.

Here’s what you do:

  • Have a balance of food options available. If there’s pizza, order one with pepperoni and one vegetarian on thin crust. If there’s a platter of treats, make healthier homemade desserts instead of store-bought.
  • Go green. A platter of fresh fruits and vegetables is always great for snacking and finger foods. If you have to dip, serve hummus or salsa, or a try this caramel apple dip.
  • Go light on the beers. And we mean this in two ways – choose light beers over full-calorie options and limit yourself to just one or two, drinking water the remainder of the party.

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heartValentine’s Day – February 14

Your sweetheart will no doubt offer a gift of sugar-coated decadence. And you may even find yourself in a kid’s school party.

Here’s what you do:

  • Go ahead and enjoy the chocolate. Just stick to the darker chocolates with high cocoa percentage, as these are filled with antioxidants, have less sugar and therefore less calories.
  • Be an advocate for health. If you’re attending a child’s school party, or even sending them with goody bags, make the goodies non-edible. Stickers, pencils, party games or a small tub of Play-Doh, it’s all fun and new to them and they won’t miss the cookies or candy.
  • Take it easy at dinner, but nevertheless indulge a little. Have a glass of champagne or a glass of wine, but not both. Split a dessert or ask for a smaller portion, and take it to go so you have time to digest.

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mardi grasMardi Gras / Fat Tuesday – February 16

As if New Orleans didn’t have enough going on with the Super Bowl this year, they’re going to turn right around and dive head-first into Mardi Gras. Whether celebrating on Bourbon St. or in your own home,

Here’s what you do:

  • Keep the alcohol to a minimum. Not only will you save loads on empty calories, you’ll not earn a beaded necklace in an embarrassing moment!
  • Prepare traditional foods at home, rather than from a restaurant. You can control the ingredients – like swapping white rice for brown rice in gumbo.
  • Walk it off! One great thing about Mardi Gras is that it’s a mobile celebration. So wear comfy shoes and get moving!

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