7 Tips for Beating the Holiday Buffet

Cheryl Forberg


Holiday get-togethers can be a healthful-eating challenge! In the whirl of chatter, good company and alcohol, you can easily lose track of how much you’ve tasted and nibbled. Here are seven tips for beating the holiday buffet:

Eat first. Never go to a party hungry. Eat half a sandwich or yogurt with fruit before you go during the drive over.

Sip smart. Avoid alcohol if possible. Alcohol can hinder willpower and makes it much easier to eat too much or not make the right choices. Drink ice water or a spritzer with club soda and lime. If you must imbibe, drink wine or champagne. A four-ounce glass of wine has approximately 100 calories.

Stand up. Don’t pile on a plateful and hunker down in a corner for a feeding frenzy. Standing burns more calories than sitting.

Work the room. When you’re tempted to have seconds, engage in conversation instead. 

Focus on finger food. Bite-sized treats may be rich, but the small size limits the calorie impact.

Work out beforehand. When you put a party on your calendar, schedule exercise the same day to offset the extra calories.

Stack the deck with healthy options. When the situation is potluck, as it often is, deliver in your favor with nutritious and delicious dishes.  Not a potluck? A dessert is always welcome (and the most tempting part of a meal), so surprise your hosts with this healthier-option pumpkin cheesecake.

Holidays don’t have to derail your diet. With mindful choices and the right foods, you’re free to savor the best of times in great company. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake | BonBon Break


Yield: 16 thin slices


For the crust:

1 1/2 cups (6.5 ounces) roasted unsalted pistachio kernels

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling:

1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce can) plain pumpkin puree

8 ounces low fat cream cheese

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek style yogurt

1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350° F.

For crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, chop nuts to very fine meal. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Mix in the agave and vanilla with a fork. The dough should be cohesive but not wet. With a rubber spatula, pat dough into a nonstick 9-inch spring form pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Remove from oven. Add 2 cups hot water to a round or square cake pan. Place pan on lower oven shelf*.

For filling:

In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, combine all of the filling ingredients. Process or blend just until smooth. Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven on the shelf above the cake pan and water.

Bake cheesecake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the filling is just set. Turn off oven. Open oven door halfway and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven (this will help minimize cracking). Remove cheesecake from the oven. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

Nutrition Analysis for one slice Pumpkin Cheesecake Calories 170, Calories from Fat 70, Total Fat 8 g, Sat Fat 2 g, Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 70 mg, Total Carbohydrate 18 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugar 11 g,
Protein 5 g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4%

*The steam will minimize cracking of the top of the cheesecake.

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Cheryl_ForbergABOUT CHERYL:
Cheryl Forberg is a James Beard award-winning chef and one of the nation’s leading advisers on health and nutrition. She is the chef and nutritionist for TV’s “The Biggest Loser,” where she helps overweight contestants transform their bodies, health and, ultimately, their lives. She’s co-written the eating plan for the show, shared cooking and nutrition tips with the contestants for fifteen seasons, and has written or contributed to all of the books in The New York Times bestselling “Biggest Loser” series. Cheryl has also authored or co-authored other books, including her latest, A Small Guide to Losing Big (2015). Cheryl, whose writing and recipes have appeared in many culinary and health publications, was recently named one of America’s 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. Cheryl strongly believes you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat well and that eating well can change your life. She lives in Napa, California, with her boyfriend, four chickens, and two dogs.

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In the whirl of chatter, good company and alcohol, you can easily lose track of how much you’ve tasted and nibbled at holiday parties.

This post was written by Cheryl Forberg exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.