Seen on Sunday morning: December 16th

December 17, 2007 11:21:57 AM PST

Enjoy your holiday parties and all the food that goes with it, guilt-free. Joining us with some healthy options is weight watchers leader, Elyse Silver, who lost 50 pounds through the program.

  • Cocktails: which are better choices based on calorie content
  • Cookies: a staple at any holiday party
  • Candy: what will give you the most satisfaction for the fewest calories
  • Couture: how to pick an outfit that will inspire you not to go overboard

    For a Healthy Holiday Season, Consider the Four C's of a Brilliant Party

    How many parties will you go to this holiday season? There's the get-together at work; the neighborhood mix 'n mingle; New Year's Eve and don't forget all of the family gatherings! For some, however, the challenge isn't the number of parties, but the number of calories greeting them at each festivity.

    Weight Watchers® recommends factoring in the FOUR C's to curtail calories at parties. These aren't diamonds - but rather precious gems of information:

    Cocktails: Some folks forget to keep tabs on liquid calories. To limit calorie consumption, keep sugary mixers to a minimum, such as Triple Sec, Grand Marnier and Crème de Menthe. To get more cocktail for the calories, play a little "drop and swap":

    Drop: Cosmo (3 oz. = 179 calories or a POINTS value of 4) Swap: Mimosa (6 oz. = 105 calories or a POINTS value of 2)

    Drop: Eggnog (1/2 cup = 186 calories or a POINTS value of 4 for homemade or 203 calories or a POINTS value of 5 for store bought) Swap: Spiced tea with 1 oz. rum (1 cup = 1.5 POINTS value) - 70 calories

    Drop: Margarita (4 oz. = 281 calories or a POINTS value of 5) Swap: Bloody Mary (5 oz. = 121 calories or a POINTS value of 2.5)

    Drop: Wine (4 oz. = 96 calories or a POINTS value of 2) Swap: White Wine Spritzer (4 oz. of white wine with 4 -8 oz. of diet beverage such as Fresca to make one glass and 96 calories or 2 POINTS go a long way)

    Cookies: Cookies tend to be a holiday party "have to" for many. Since deprivation tends to lead to overindulgence, pick one cookie and savor it. To create a little more cookie control, bring your own renovated recipe. is offering a roundup of healthier versions of your favorite cookies, including the Sugar Cookie Recipe below which has a POINTS value of only one!

  • Top It: Sprinkle chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit on top, instead of mixing in the batter to reduce the amount used.
  • Toast It: Toasting nuts or coconut brings out the flavor and allows you to use less.
  • Substitute It: Egg and sugar substitutes (such as Splenda) can help reduce the calories and fat.
  • Shrink It: Cut calories in half by reducing the size of the cookie, so you can still enjoy the flavor of your favorite holiday cookie.

    Candy: Sweet temptations are sure to be on every party menu, this season. Instead, try a long lasting holiday candy, such as a candy cane (2 POINTS value for 1-ounce cane). Also, look for ways to incorporate sensible snacks with a touch of indulgence, such as chocolate dipped pretzels. (2 POINTS value Chocolate Splattered Pretzels below).

    Couture - Don't give into baggy sweaters and stretchy fabrics. You might think twice about grazing at the holiday party buffet when you have your "skinny" jeans on! Also, buy a party dress or a fantastic outfit that makes you feel great now and hang it on the bathroom door as a reminder that you want to look and feel your best this season. For instant inspiration, read our tips to dressing "five pounds lighter" on

    It's important to decide your objective for the holiday season and stick to it. is offering a challenge to help you stay in control throughout the holidays. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain your current weight, or even allow yourself to gain a few pounds over the season, the site can help with valuable tools to help you stay accountable to your goals.


    Classic Sugar Cookies
    POINTS Value: 1
    Servings: 45
    Preparation Time: 15 min
    Cooking Time: 12 min
    Level of Difficulty: Moderate

    Complete your holiday gathering with these classic cookies. Vary the cookie cutters and colored sugars to create an endless variety of shapes and designs.

  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup Neufchatel cheese
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg(s)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free skim milk
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, colored (for decorating) Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Place butter and cheese in a large bowl; cream using an electric mixer. Add sugar and beat until batter is pale yellow; beat in vanilla extract and egg.
  • Add about 1/3 of flour mixture and 1/3 of milk to cheese mixture; mix batter on low speed until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and cheese mixtures.
  • Shape dough into a ball and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Using your palms, press down on plastic wrap to flatten dough into a hamburger shape; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of flour on a flat work surface. Pull off about 1/3 of dough and, using a rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch circular cookie cutter, cut cookies out of dough and place on ungreased baking sheets. Roll up dough scraps and add back to dough ball. Pull off another 1/3 of dough and repeat process until all dough is used - recipe will make approximately 45 cookies.
  • Sprinkle cookies with colored sugar and bake until edges just start to turn golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Remove cookies to wire racks and cook completely. Yields 1 cookie per serving.
  • Make these cookies any shape you want. You can sprinkle them with colored sugar as we've done here or make colored icing and paint on your own designs (may affect POINTS values). To ice the cookies, bake them without the colored sugar topping. While they are cooling, combine 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 to 3 teaspoons of hot water in a small bowl. Divide icing in half and add drops of different food coloring to each half; paint designs on cookies using small painting or basting brushes.

    Chocolate-splattered Pretzels POINTS Value: 2
    Servings: 4
    Preparation Time: 9 min
    Cooking Time: 1 min
    Level of Difficulty: Easy

    This treat can be whipped up in minutes. They're also a great recipe to make with your kids.

  • 28 items Harry's Pretzel Nuggets, or other brand
  • 2 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper. Place the pretzels on the wax paper close together but not quite touching.
  • Place the chocolate chips in a small microwavable bowl and microwave on High, stirring every 15 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Fill a small, resealable plastic bag with melted chocolate and carefully snip off a small corner of the bag with scissors. Squeeze bag to drizzle chocolate over the pretzels using a back and forth motion.
  • Refrigerate 3 minutes or until the chocolate is firm, or allow the chocolate to firm up at room temperature, about 3 hours. Yields 7 pretzels per serving.

    -----HOME SAFETY FOR PETS-----

    During this time of year, there are all kinds of new things around your home that your beloved pet is just looking to get their paws on, but it's also very dangerous. With us this morning to show us how to make your own pet emergency kit is veterinarian Elizabette Cohen, author of "most of my patients wear fur." Every home should have an emergency kit. People can make their own. All items should be stored in a water-tight, plastic container. People who live in NYC don't worry about forest fires, river floods or hurricanes and tornadoes, but water main breaks can create a flood, home fires and even black outs can happen to all of us.

    Each kit should have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide-great for disinfecting wounds and inducing vomiting. Because of the holidays many people have chocolates out and we all know how poisonous chocolate is for pets. A small piece eaten by a large dog is nothing to worry about , but a box of chocolates eaten by a small dog or cat can be fatal. If you witness your pet eating chocolate or you see a lot of it missing you can induce vomiting by giving a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide by mouth for every 10 pounds of body weight. It takes about 15 minutes to work. If it doesn't work after 15 minutes you can give another dose. There are some ingested poisons that are dangerous to come back up like cleaning agents and sharp objects. Always check with your vet first. After the vomiting is done, another item that belongs in each emergency kit is activated charcoal. A few capsules can be put down the throat of your pet to help absorb any of the poison that did not come up. One capsule per 5-10 pounds of body weight.

    Another great item for the emergency kit is a jar of Silver Sulfadiazine. This is a burn cream that is used for human burn victims, but works for any burn. Because of the holidays and the time of year, there are more lit fireplaces and pets that get too close can get burned. Always barricade the fireplace. Holiday cooking can lure pets over to the stove and again, they can easily get burned if the oil from frying food splashes or they get too close to the stove. I once had a cat walk over to the stove because of the enticing smells and get both front paws burned on the electric top. First soak the burned area in cold water and keep applying the cold water until the skin doesn't feel hot anymore. Then the silver sulfadiazine cream can be applied. It is a thick, white, cooling cream that is very protective to the skin.

    Every kit should have bandaging materials, a bandage scissor, gauze pads and non-stick padding. Aseptic triple antibiotic ointment should also be included.

    One of the most important items to have in the kit is a muzzle that fits your pet. They even make them for cats. The reason why this is such an important item is because any pet in pain can bite. You need to protect yourself so that you can help your pet. The muzzle can also help to distract the pet because he/she can focus on the muzzle rather than what you are doing.

    Next to each kit should be a gallon of water, a blanket and a flashlight.

    On each kit should be important phone number like the poison control hot line phone number 1-888-426-4435. This should be your first phone call in case of any suspected poisoning. Another phone number should be that of your vet's and the closest emergency clinic.


    Traveling home this holiday season is exciting and stressful, all at once. Especially if this year, you are introducing a new boyfriend or girlfriend to your entire family. With some tips is Marc Goldmann, founder of

    Pre meeting preparation: Plan now and enjoy later

    Make sure the time is right and that your girlfriend of boyfriend is ready- Bringing someone home traditional means that the relationships is getting serous or already is serious. Pay careful attention to the warning signs: significant hesitation or resistance from either of you.

    Tell your parents in advance & Identify your relationship - Not a great idea to surprise your parents. You might avoid a lot of advance questions but you are setting yourself up for an awfully uncomfortable evening and sabotaging your relationship. Also, emphasize to your parents a few of the positive things you like about your partner (e.g. treats you with consideration, respect and makes you laugh) Your parents love you and want to see that you are happy. Make sure everyone is clear in advance of the meeting what the relationship is between you and your partner. Let your parents know if you just started dating exclusively, if you are already significantly into your relationship or if you are ready to move in or propose.

    Know who you are meeting and how you should address them: Find out in advance who will be at the meeting and try to memorize their names. This is a great way to make a positive impression. Addressing people by their name will make a deep and positive first impression. Does your partners father want to be addressed by Mr. Stein, Sir, or by his first name Jack?

    Interesting background information: Sit down with your boyfriend or girlfriend and go over some background points about your family that will make for easier conversation and help avoid any topics that could be disastrous. Do the same thing with your family and make sure that they know a little something about your boyfriend/girlfriend. For example, if your father is a big football fanatic and cannot understand why anyone would not root for the Giants then let this be known so your boyfriend does not walk in and start to trash talk them. Of course, if there is a wacky family tradition that everyone performs then make sure your partner knows ahead of time what participation will be required. A good friend of mine's family did the Turkey Gobble, where everyone circled the tabled and Goobled like a Turkey. Hilarious but could make for an awkward situation.

    Make sure that there are ground rules: eg. If there are taboo topics then make sure everyone knows what they are. The last think you want is for your Mom to on about a how heart broken you were about a breakup with the guy that she brought home last year to meet the family. Or your Dad asking Whether your author boyfriend has sold any of his books lately and how is he going to support his daughter.

    Introduce to siblings first- If you have siblings who you are close with, then try to make that introduction first. This way they have a familiar face in the room besides yours.

    Ease the environment for your boyfriend of girlfriend:

    Be on-time and if there is an unavoidable emergency that will prevent this, the call. It is the ultimate show of disrespect to just show up late to meeting. It says that you are not important enough for me to schedule my time properly.

    Bring a thoughtful but small gift- Cigars, Wine, Golf accessory, flowers, fruit basket etc.

    Make things Comfortable- Share family stories as well as stories about you and your girlfriend and allow for others to chime in. This will include everyone in the conversation. Avoid arguments with your boyfriend in front of the parents and don't go overboard showing your affection for each other.

    Be yourself- Although you will go through the right preparation, make sure that in the end you be yourself. You have done your prep now.