Company's Coming! 6 Ways to Save Your Diet (cont.)

To help get you started, our experts put together six non-fattening ways to fill your home with holiday cheer.

1. Roll Out the Welcome Wagon

Ever since the Pilgrims invented our first major "food holiday" at Plymouth Rock, Americans have equated food with hospitality. But we don't really need boxes of chocolates or tubs of eggnog to make our guests feel welcome, Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, tells WebMD.

"There are lots of ways to show people they are welcome in your home without buying out the grocery store," says Blatner, a nutritionist and dietitian at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Wellness Institute in Chicago.

Among her suggestions: Stock your guest room with their favorite magazines or DVDs, and have their favorite CDs playing on the stereo. Fill the guest bathroom with luxurious soaps, shower gels, and body creams your guests can use, then take with them when they leave.

"The point is to go out of your way to make your guests feel special without relying on food," says Blatner.

2. Offer Plenty of Variety

You can't expect your guests to love every food on your particular eating plan. But, the experts say, the more variety of healthy foods you have on hand, the more likely it is that your guests will find something they like.

"If, for example, fruit is on your diet, buy lots of different kinds of fruit; if yogurt is on your list of foods, then stock your fridge with every flavor you can think of -- and go for the exotics and maybe the slightly costlier brands that will wow your guests and give them a treat," says Blatner.

Rizzotto agrees, and adds: "Variety also means planning for yourself, so make sure there are enough things you can eat -- like raw vegetables, pita wedges, and low-fat dips," she says. Then, if you decide to feed your guests high-calorie fare, you'll have something healthy to nibble on as well.

Another important tip: Have plenty of non-alcoholic or lower-calorie alcoholic drinks available.

"By and large, a huge portion of our entertaining calories are spent on holiday beverages, with eggnog being the worst offender," says Blatner.

If you have other options on hand -- like sparkling cider, wine spritzers, or light beer -- everyone can take part in the toasting without the guilt.

"You may be surprised to learn how many folks will welcome the chance to save up their calories for the dinner instead of spending them all on the alcohol drinks," adds Blatner.


3. Learn the Art of Creative Substitution

One simple way to keep your holidays healthy is to prepare lower-fat, lower-calorie versions of traditional foods.


"Make your houseguests part of your healthy lifestyle."

"Most every traditional holiday dish can be adapted to fit your eating plan, if you just cut down, not cut out, high-calorie ingredients such as sugar or oils," Amidor tells WebMD.