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How to Eat at a Holiday Party

Embrace the Holidays!

Eating at Holiday parties doesn’t have to be stressful! Following the tips below will allow you to have a plan in place and ready to “sleigh” your fitness and wellness goals no matter the barrier!

Dashing Through the Foods

If you have an idea of what your plans are, take control! Your body works purely on the idea of calories in versus calories out, minus some other details for the most part. If you’re trying to lose weight, staying in a calorie deficit is essential. This means you are trying to intake fewer calories than the output of calories. To keep with this, eat nutrient-dense, lower-calorie foods before that Holiday party! Do not mistake this for over-restricting and eating only crumbs. Focus on hitting protein within your meals beforehand with some veggies and complex carbohydrates. Then, once you get to that event, control those high-calorie delicious foods, whether it's drinks, desserts, or more. Allow yourself to eat slowly, and limit yourself beforehand. If you want those Christmas cookies, do it! However, tell yourself beforehand, how many you want to eat and stick to it. We want to be able to achieve livable and flexible lives, so take control by thinking about your actions and not just saying, “screw it, I’ll eat all the appetizers!” Even if you’re trying to maintain your weight, apply these same concepts to keep yourself where you’re at!

Holly Jolly Drinking

When it comes to alcohol, there is a way to live flexibly and not take all your progress down the drain with drinking. Apply the same concepts as above but with a little more purpose. If you weren’t focusing on hydrating before, now is definitely the time. Consume at least 2 liters of water before heading out while eating nutrient-dense meals. Keep in mind eating protein and veggies but also incorporating complex carbohydrates to fill you up throughout the day. If you go into that party starving you’re only going to feel worse while drinking! Throughout the night, keep drinking more water as well. You might think this is an easy task but it's honestly very easy to forget to order water with that vodka/soda!

With hydration and nutrient-dense foods before your night out, also think about your upcoming drinks. Some lower-calorie beverages to stick with include vodka/soda (approx. 96 calories), vodka/water (approx. 96 calories), vodka/diet coke (approx. 96 calories), jack/diet coke (approx. 126 calories), and hard seltzers such as White Claws and Truly's. The hard seltzers tend to be around 90-100 calories per can and lower carbohydrates. A tip for if you want to enjoy a craft beer or Christmas cocktail: allow yourself to have 1 and sip it slowly to make it last longer, then, switch over to a lower-calorie option. Order it for the gram pic then be done with it!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like… Success!

When you take a step back and look at the months of November & December as a whole and how many fun, Christmas events you might be attending, controlling your food and drink intake to stay on track is essential! Indulging each weekend or more could leave you taking 10 steps backward. Don’t let these events control you; by following the tips above you can still allow yourself to have fun. Think about this concept above as similar to the “80/20 rule.” The 80/20 rule is eating nutrient-dense foods 80% of the time and leaving that 20% for fun or indulging in your favorite foods. The concepts laid out above can be considered similar to this rule, however, relying only on percentages alone leaves room for error, because you can talk yourself into thinking you’ve been eating "healthfully" for 80% of the time when you really haven't.

So, go to that Holiday party because it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but focus on keeping it in line with your goals. If you’ve overindulged don’t give up after that event! Get right back on track as you normally would and take on those events with confidence the next time!