From Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, Americans eat more high-fat meats, sauces and goodies than at any other season. As the social calender fills out with office parties, celebrations and football gatherings, so unfortunately does the waistline. But a happy holiday can be a healthy one too. Here are some tips to carry you through the round of celebrations without feeling guilty or deprived-

When You're the Guest

  • Eat a lowfat breakfast and nutritious lunch before going to a big holiday dinner. It will help you enjoy the meal without overindulging.
  • Snack on high-fiber fruit a half hour before the feast.
  • Reach for the vegetable tray, going easy on the high-calorie dips. Sample or ignore pates and cheeses.
  • Make at least your first drink mineral water; or seltzer mixed with fruit juice, and continue with non-alcoholic beverages as the only or major source of liquid.
  • If you feel you want some alcohol, order white wine spritzer instead of a cocktail.
  • Pass on processed meats and choose turkey or fish. Skimp on sauces and gravies.
  • Lighten your plate with salad and green vegetables garnished with lemon juice instead of dressing or butter.
  • Sample desserts as if they were rare wine.
  • Take a walk instead of seconds.
When You're the host
  • Serve lowfat, part-skim natural cheeses with crackers.
  • Make Eggless Nog using lowfat vanilla frozen yogurt and lowfat milk instead of eggs and cream.
  • Use margarine made with unsaturated vegetable oil instead of shortening , lard or butter.
  • Try evaporated skim milk in place of light cream, whipping cream or evaporated milk.
  • Use one percent or skim milk instead of whole milk and lowfat, or nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • Substitute egg whites for egg yolks (2 eggs whites = 1 whole egg).
  • Prepare vegetable stuffing outside the turkey so it won't absorb the fat.
  • Substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for chocolate products made with cocoa butter. Use 3 Tbsp. cocoa. for each ounce of chocolate. Sift the cocoa with dry ingredients, such as flour. Some recipes may need a teaspoon of vegetable oil for proper texture.
  • For dessert, create a pie using fruit and lowfat yogurt. So where does Aunt Clara's double chocolate fudge cheesecake (your cake) fit into this program of enlightened eating and restraint? That's the beauty of being good. It makes room for the occasional no-no.


The Month After Christmas

Twas the month after Christmas all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."
As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt--
I said to myself, as I only can
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"

So -- away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
Till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have a cookie -- not even a lick.
I'll only chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore-
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!