6 Tips for Staying Healthy at Holiday Parties

DSC_0012 The winter holiday season is full of opportunities to party like you mean it with friends and loved ones, no matter what country you may live in or what religion or culture you are a part of. Unfortunately, celebrations this time of year often involve overindulging on food (especially sugar!) and alcohol, which can really throw a wrench into your efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps even more serious, if you have life-threatening food allergies, troubling food sensitivities (think lactose or gluten intolerance issues), or are abstaining from certain foods due to religious or ethical reasons, otherwise ‘fun’ gatherings might become more of a worry than a chance to celebrate.

If any of this rings true for you, let me show you how you can ease some of the stress around food this season, while still being able to spend time with friends and loved ones and not sitting on the (culinary) sidelines! Here are some of my best tips for staying on track, whatever your preferred diet may be:

1. Eat Before You Go

This is my #1 success tip for surviving holiday functions! If you are at all worried that you won’t have any healthy options at an event or party, fill up (at least partially) at home before you leave the house. A green smoothie would be an example of something quick and satisfying to consume, and you can add plenty of fat and protein in the form of powders, coconut oil, nut butter, etc. The goal is not to stuff yourself (in case you do find some delicious delicacies at the event), but to be satisfied enough that if you cannot or do not want to indulge in anything at the party, you won’t be worried about dropping to the floor in your embarrassing Christmas sweater from a low blood sugar crash!

2. Pack a Snack

This is an easy one for those of us who tote around half our belongings in a handbag! Stash away something like raw nuts and dried fruit, an energy or snack bar like Lara Bars or a piece of fruit, just in case you get caught out with nothing you can eat. You might not want to draw attention to yourself by eating your snack in front of your host at the party (but if you do, more power to ya!), but you can at least step out to have a bite, or eat your snack in the car/bus/train on the way back home.

3. Bring {Your} Food

‘Pot luck’ style parties are the easiest to navigate, as everyone brings a dish to share. If this is the case, it’s your time to shine and bring something that you can eat! Even if everything else is off limits to you for one reason or another, you can rest assured that you can at least enjoy the item you personally brought. If the event is not a pot luck style, you might consider asking the host or hostess if there is something that he or she would like you to bring. In many cases, people who are not used to catering for others with special dietary restrictions or preferences might actually welcome you to bring something, as it takes the pressure off of them to come up with something that you can safely enjoy.

4. Eat Like a Toddler

If you do decide to consume what’s on offer and you are worried about calories or unpleasant physical after-effects, make like a toddler and have a little taste of everything! A small spoon of your favorite holiday dishes, provided you are not allergic to them, of course, is a great compromise between completely slamming the buffet line or not eating anything at all.

5. Add ‘Sparkle’ to Your Drink

Don’t want to get drunk but feeling left out of the holiday drinking scene? Try adding sparkling mineral water to something non-alcoholic for a refreshing drink that won’t leave you with a hangover. A little bit of fizz mixed in with a touch of juice (watch the sugar with this one!) just might be enough to satisfy your cravings for a sweet cocktail. Try our Three Fruit Spritzer if you are hosting a get-together at your own home.

6. Send out the Reinforcements

Mitigate any damage done as soon as you get home (and before crashing into bed). This might mean taking a digestive enzyme, charcoal tablet, heartburn remedies, drinking an extra glass of water, etc. Getting a good night’s sleep in a dark, cool and quiet environment will also help you kick-start the next morning as if nothing had happened the night before (unless you have a baby or night-waking toddler, of course!).

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