Stay on Track During the Holiday Season

holiday party food

The holidays are upon us and that means that your weekends might be filled with parties and events.  Just the thought of a holiday party can send you into a stress-filled frenzy when you’re trying to stick to a healthy plan.  Thinking about the appetizers and the drinks and desserts are enough to make you feel bloated before you’ve even picked out your outfit!  Never mind stressing out about not getting your sleep in from dancing all night long.  

There are many tips and tricks that can help you stay on track when all this time of year rolls around. We all have heard from girls who back out of attending these events just to avoid being presented with the peppermint brownies or the scallops wrapped in bacon.  But avoiding these events will find you sitting home alone eating your chicken and asparagus listening to holiday songs tricking yourself into thinking you’re having a good time.  

The following are some great strategies to talk yourself down from the ledge when you get that party invite:

1. Bring a delicious and healthy treat.  If you’re attending a house party that is not catered, let the host know that you’d like to bring something.  Find a healthy recipe that is festive and one that you know you would have without feeling guilty.  

2. Eat a meal before you go.  Filling up on your healthy foods will keep your appetite at bay and you will be less likely to be going for those yummy looking hors d’oeuvres.  

3. Make mindful choices. Look around for healthy options.  If you look hard enough you will see may healthy choices.  Veggies, shrimp, and mushrooms always seem to be a staple at any party.  Keep yourself in check with how often you are picking from the trays.  

4. Portion control.  Just as with your regular nutrition plan, you will want to be mindful that you’re not overdoing it.  Grab yourself a plate and make sure a veggie and protein is taking up most of the plate before adding other things on it.  

5. Pick a number and stick with it.  Before you go, give yourself a limit of how many hors d’ouevres or other tasty things you will have.  Stick with that number.  Just because others keep picking from the tray of food doesn’t mean you have to.

6. Allow a cheat.  Go ahead and allow yourself to have a cheat.  It’s ok.  It’s not going to make or break you.  If you can’t decide which to have, then try a couple of different ones but just take a bite.  As my Italian grandmother used to say “Just a taste” as she demonstrated the ultimate self control by always taking the smallest portion of a treat. 

7. Limit the alcohol.  For many reasons, you will want to watch your alcohol consumption.  You will know what your limit is.  I always say one or two is just fine.  Whatever your amount, make sure you drink at least two 8 oz glasses of water afterward to help limit the effects of the alcohol.  

8. Get your sleep.  The holiday parties can definitely wipe you out if you’re staying long after your usual bedtime.  If you can’t sleep a little later the next day, schedule in a nap.  Rest is extremely important to help your body rejuvenate and stay well-tuned like the machine that it is. 

9. State your goals.  Every day of the week you should be waking up and reminding yourself of your goals, whatever they may be.  This is equally important to do prior to leaving for an event that may be testing your willpower.  Remind yourself of your goals as you’re getting ready and generate inner excitement that will keep you disciplined through the party.

10. Get right back to it.  The day after your event get right back on track with your healthy eating.  Get yourself moving by going to the gym or going for a walk.  Get right back on track with your healthy eating and feel great about the choices you made the night before.