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What 4 Nutritionists Eat at Parties

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By guest blogger Stephanie Eckelkamp for EatClean.com

Dilemma: Even though I'm pretty health savvy, big parties can make me go a little nutty. Like, eat-five-pounds-of-cheese-and-wash-it-down-with-spiked-punch nutty.

Apparently, I should have a game plan for avoiding this kind of binge, but I don't. Luckily, four supersmart nutritionists decided to help me out. Here, they weigh in on what they eat before, during, and after a fiesta full of sugar and fat bombs. Much to my delight, no one recommended celery or seltzer.

Pre-Party Routine

"Never go to a party hungry! Beforehand, I always eat a snack or small meal that packs a decent amount of protein. That way, if the food choices aren't great, I know I don't need to eat anything unless I think I'll really enjoy it. --Laura Schoenfeld, RD, holistic nutritionist at Ancestralize Me

"I stick with my usual breakfast, then a salad packed with veggies and some protein on top like chicken and roasted chickpeas for lunch, and then a snack, like an apple and some almonds, to tide me over until the party." --Jessica Levinson, RD, nutrition counselor and consultant at Nutritioulicious

"I might eat a slightly smaller breakfast and lunch if I know I'm going to indulge. I want to leave room for the foods I'm looking forward to." --Nyree Dardarian, RD, assistant clinical professor of nutrition at Drexel University

"I really just eat my meals as usual, which ends up being something every four or so hours to keep my metabolism revved." --Gina Hassick, RD, nutritionist at Eat Well with Gina

During the Festivities

"Drink it neat! This may be a little intense for some, but I prefer to nurse a glass of straight whiskey for an hour rather than drink too many sugary cocktails. As much as I love eggnog, one cup has 220 calories! Compare that to 105 in a shot of whiskey or 120 in wine. Also, alternate booze with water and bring your own treats if that's cool with the host. Occasionally I'll bring a somewhat healthier dessert, like almond flour chocolate chip cookies." --Laura

"I go straight for a glass of white wine, and I make sure to socialize. I end up eating less because I just can't juggle anything else. When I do want to eat, I survey the landscape and take only what I really want--but I don't limit myself from having anything that appeals to me, otherwise I won't stop thinking about it. Sharing with my husband or a friend allows me to try a lot but keep portions in check." --Jessica

"I don't eat anything I don't like, just to sample, or anything I have easy access to at home. Veggies? No, I can eat them anytime. But I do love those mini hot dogs and a good cheese spread! So I'll go straight for those if available. To avoid overdoing it, I remind myself that parties are really about making connections and talking to people." --Nyree

"Sometimes I'll fill up my first plate with raw veggies just to lay down a healthy base and help me avoid overeating super indulgent treats. And when I'm eating, I try to position myself away from the table of food and snacks. That way I can actually remain mindful of and enjoy what I have on my plate." --Gina

Post-Party Damage Control

"I really like working out the day of a party and the day after. Working out on the day gives me a little wiggle room in calories since I can almost guarantee I'll eat more than usual. Working out after helps me 'sweat out' some of the sugar and alcohol I had the night before. But I don't push myself extra hard to 'make up' for the food I ate--in the long run, one party won't effect my weight and health." --Laura

"First thing I do when I get home is have a big glass of ice water. In the morning, I resume regular eating habits. If I really overdid it the night before, I may keep breakfast a bit smaller than usual, but I'll still eat it." --Jessica

"I'll either go for a walk or drink some ginger tea. I find that ginger soothes an upset stomach and helps with digestion." --Gina

Stephanie Eckelkamp is a senior associate editor at Prevention magazine covering food and nutrition, and a certified holistic-health coach. She's obsessed with her pup, Milo, and loves to get a little crazy in the kitchen. For more from Stephanie, visit StephEckelkamp.com.

For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com