It's holiday party season! If you're trying to figure out how you're going to get through it without throwing all of your nutrition goals out the door, don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are 8 tips to help you survive those holiday parties (and have fun while you're at it):
- Eat Before You Go – If you're starving when you arrive at a party, it becomes way too easy to overindulge in the brie and fig jam puff pastry bites, those cute Christmas tree-shaped sugar cookies with sprinkles, and other holiday hors d'oeuvres that probably don't have a lot of nutrients. If you eat a nutrient-dense snack like nuts or a protein bar before you go to the party, it can help you make better food choices when you get to the party because you won't be ravenous when you're deciding what to eat.
- Use a Salad Plate and Wait – If you load up a dinner plate full of the rich, decadent treats normally found at holiday parties, you might end up eating a lot more than your body is really hungry for. Instead, put everything on a salad plate, and, after you've eaten that food, wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds. Your body's ability to identify whether it is actually full takes time, so give it that time to determine whether it truly needs more food.
- Stay hydrated – Keeping yourself hydrated can help curb cravings. Drink water throughout the night, making sure to have a glass of water before every cocktail and before you go back for seconds on the appetizers.
- Pick Nutrient-Packed Snacks – Nutrient-rich party snacks that are packed with protein, fiber and healthy fat can help satiate you and leave you feeling great. Look for food like oysters, shrimp cocktail, veggie trays, chicken kabobs, deviled eggs, and spiced pecans.
- Love Every Bite – If you go to a party and you feel guilty about everything that you eat, you're not only preventing yourself from enjoying your food and the party, you're also likely impacting your ability to digest and metabolize what you're eating. Make a conscious decision to enjoy everything that you choose to eat. Savor each bite without guilt or shame. If you let yourself truly take pleasure in the food that you're eating, it may improve your body's ability to process your food and help you stop eating once you've had enough.
- Notice Your Body’s Hunger Signals – Using your brain or your taste buds to gauge how much food your body actually needs can make it much harder for you to stop eating when your body is full. Instead, pay attention to the physical hunger sensations in your stomach to determine when to stop eating. Remind yourself that there will be food at the party all night and if you get hungry again, you can always go back for more food.
- Get Glam – Whether it’s your favorite red dress or something that sparkles, pick an outfit that lights you up and reminds you of how radiant you are. When you shower yourself with self-love, you may be more inclined to show your body love by nourishing it with foods that make it feel great.
- Fill up on Fun – Instead of making your evening about the champagne and hors d’oeuvres, let your night be about having fun with people the you care about, making new friends, or helping out your hostess. After all, giving back and making connections with old friends and new can fill you up in a more meaningful way that food ever can. And, isn't that what the holidays are truly about?