The holiday cocktail party diet.

Cheese, sugary punches and small bites wrapped in puff pastry are staples of the holiday cocktail circuit. If your social calendar has you running from one party to the next you might find yourself living on a diet of hors d’oevres and alcohol. Given the title of this piece you might think I’m going to offer you a diet to avoid the holiday thickening. Nope.

It’s the holidays. Go ahead and put on a few pounds. Indulge in your favorite rich foods or sugary family traditions. You can make different choices next month. What I am offering are a few thoughts on navigating the buffet or serving up small bites for when we get tired of all of that rich food.

Skip the lighter version: You know how you make lighter cookies or cheese trays? Eat a salad. If you want to serve lighter tasting, less rich bites at your holiday party serve dishes that were meant to taste that way.

Veggies, veggies, veggies: Meats, cheese, bread and pastry are the staples of holiday hors d’oeuvres look for vegetable heavy dishes to lighten up your menu.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good: This DC-ism applies equally to legislation and small bites. Crudités with a mayonnaise based dip are still a step ahead of cheese puffs and mini Beef Wellingtons.

Eat!: I used to avoid all that heavy food only to spend my night bellied up to the bar. You’ll feel better and less bloated in the morning with a few more mini spanakopita and a few less sugary cocktails.

So put on that sharp suit or fabulous dress and get out there for some good holiday eating, in whatever way makes you happy tonight. Happy partying!

Feeling like some lighter bites? Try these:

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