During the holiday season it can be really hard to eat healthy and find the time to exercise, which is why the average person gains 10-15 pounds between mid-December and January. So with all the holiday parties coming up it’s important to get educated and go in with a plan!
First of all, make sure you eat breakfast and lunch the day of a party. Some of us may eat very little during the day in order to “save up” calories for the party food. Not a good idea. If you arrive to the party starving, you will not only embarrass yourself at the buffet, but end up overeating. Also, when your blood sugar is so low; high-fat & high-sugar foods look even more appealing and you’ll down a Nanaimo bar and Egg Nog to satisfy your craving. This will spike your blood sugar and in 10 minutes you’ll feel hungry again. Oatmeal with a banana or a boiled egg on whole wheat toast are good breakfast options, and a salad with edamame & fresh veg is a good option for lunch.
So you arrive at the party feeling hungry, but what do you choose? It’s hard to predict exactly what food will be at a party, so it’s best to know the basics. Go for food that is high in fiber & protein and low in bad fats. For example, choose fresh cut veggies with hummus, instead of tortilla chips with asiago & artichoke dip. Veg & hummus are good sources of fiber and protein, whereas the chips & dip are loaded with fat. Other healthy party choices are shrimp cocktail, a handful of nuts (high in fat, but also protein & B vitamins) popcorn, smoked salmon, bruschetta or chicken kabobs. These choices will leave you feeling satisfied, and you won’t feel guilty, bloated & sluggish. Also make sure to try and only fill your plate once. If you graze the buffet table and grab little bits of food throughout the night you will lose track of how much and what you’ve eaten.
It’s also a good idea to go in with a drinking plan, especially if the party is on a weekday. Keep it realistic of course, but I find if you have a plan of two drinks for example, you’ll be more likely to turn down the third. You’ll probably leave the party realizing that two was enough and you’ll have energy to get up the next day and get through your holiday to do list, and maybe even squeeze in a workout.
Now when it comes to dessert it’s important to allow yourself to indulge a little. There are so many delicious options this time of year and it’s totally ok to enjoy one or two of your favourites. Just don’t waste your calories on the ones that aren’t worth it. For me, I’d much rather grab the Nanaimo bar vs. the shortbread. I look forward to Nanaimo bars at this time of year, and for me it’s totally worth it.
Once you’re done eating and feeling good; focus on mingling with other party goers. If you make this your focus, you’ll probably have a better time and you won’t end up eating out of boredom or to pass the time, which I find is easy to do towards the end of a party.
Ok, so now that you know your healthy food choices, you have a drinking plan and some good conversation ideas – party hearty! And also keep in mind one of my favourite mottos – everything in moderation!