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7 party foods you can binge on, without piling on the pounds

Indulge in these finger foods to stay fit for New Year’s Eve

brunch Updated: Mar 18, 2017 21:05 IST
Lovneet Batra
Lovneet Batra
Hindustan Times
Healthy Eating,Chicken Tikka,Vegetables
Smart snacking is a great way to stay fit this part season (Getty Images)

Eating well at home is easy, but to navigate through buffets and open bars can be challenging for the healthy eater, even with the best of intentions. We make about 200 food decisions a day, and we tend to make the wrong ones when on an empty stomach. So to begin with, it’s never a good idea to enter a party starving. Hydrate your body prior to the event and fill yourself with lean proteins such as yogurt, lentils or eggs with vegetables before you leave.

When you’re at the party, pace yourself. Have a glass of water for every drink and eat only out of a plate. We eat with our eyes; eating out of a bottomless bowl can make you indulge mindlessly.

Here are seven foods you can count on to stay fit while celebrating the party season.

Vegetables and dip

Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce when consumed raw become calorie-negative (Shutterstock)

Here’s an ultra-safe strategy for party munching: use veggies as your free food (fried and starchy veggies are still a no-no). Being packed with fibre, they are excellent appetite regulators and keep you full for longer. Loading up on fibre also cleans your digestive system. You’ll be so busy chowing down on antioxidants, that you’ll automatically pull down the inflammation caused with drinking. Some vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce, when eaten in their natural forms are in fact calorie-negative: they need more energy to digest compared to what they offer. The bonus: You don’t need to stay away from the dip entirely, just pick the right one.

Healthy dips

Instead of mayo opt for dips like hummus, which comes packed with the goodness of lean protein and cholestrol-free good fat (Shutterstock)

If you mess this one, you might end up eating about 50 extra calories with every single bite. Choose hummus, salsa or guacamole instead of mayo. This single switch will replace empty calories and bad fat with the goodness of lean protein and the cholesterol-free good fat in hummus. Salsa’s main ingredients − tomatoes, peppers and lime − are packed with antioxidants such as lycopene and vitamins A and C, loaded with fibre and are super low-calorie. Avocado plays the lead in guacamole and is loaded with heart-healthy fats and nutrients such as beta-sitosterol, a natural plant sterol, which can decrease bad cholesterol. If you can’t do without creamy taste to your veggies, go for a hung curd dip. It’s a natural probiotic, which can be a blessing for your gut, especially when you lose track of your drinks.

Mixed nuts

Nuts make for healthy party snacks and keep you full too (Shutterstock)

Nuts are popular party snacks. Despite being served in their high-salt avatars they are packed with good fat, protein and fibre to keep you full, and can be considered a fair game. They’re high in vitamin E, which works wonders for blood circulation, skin and even PMS.

Roasted chickpeas

A great source of protein and fibre, roasted chickpeas can lower cholesterol and keep blood glucose in check (Shutterstock)

This whole grain is always a better choice than the highly processed so-called ‘diet’ chips and crispies. They’re an excellent source of plant-based protein and fibre, a combination which can lower your cholesterol and control elevated blood glucose levels. And they are loaded with manganese, that helps boost your metabolism.

Fruit and cheese

The combination of fresh fruits and less processed cheese helps curb sweet cravings (Shutterstock)

This could be your best bet for sweet cravings at a party. Choose less processed soft cheese, such as brie, goat or feta, in combination with fresh fruit. This will provide calcium, antioxidants and alkaline ash, which your body will most certainly need post drinking.

Chicken tikka

Chicken tikkas are one of the healthiest appetisers that can save you a lot of calories without having to compromise on taste (Shutterstock)

This popular Indian party finger-food is not only packed with low-fat protein but is also cooked in a curd marinade, which is soothing for the stomach. It’s one of the healthiest chicken-based appetisers − chicken seekh or nuggets are restructured with too much fat and starch. Chicken tikkas can save you hundreds of calories without making you feel that you’re depriving yourself.

Shrimp cocktail

The high protein content of shrimps prevents you from overeating by keeping you satisfied for longer (Shutterstock)

Jumbo on protein and skimpy on fat and calories, this may just be the best party appetiser there is. With just a few shrimps on your plate, you are less likely to overeat as the protein keeps you satisfied for longer. Shrimps also contain the mineral zinc, which helps promote a strong immune system. Just do away with the accompanying sauce as it is loaded with sugar and can rebound hunger.

Enjoy yourself at the party, but strive for balance. Next morning, drink a litre of water after waking up to clear out bloating. Start your day with coconut water followed by a cup of yogurt and fruit to keep your metabolism humming.

The writer is a well-known nutritionist and TV personality

From HT Brunch, December 18, 2016

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First Published: Dec 17, 2016 18:47 IST