Health & Wellness
Holiday Party Survival Guide
From office parties to family gatherings, the winter holidays bring about so many opportunities to socialize. So, it can be challenging to stick to your healthy intentions while still enjoying the festivities, but by following these tips, we’ll show you how to have your cake (or holiday pie) and eat it, too.
1. Don’t go hungry! Here’s the logic: you know there will be tempting foods at the party, so you barely eat all day to make up for the calories you know you are going to consume that night. However, when you find yourself in front of a buffet of delicious food, it is much easier to go overboard if you are hungry. Instead, try to fit in a 100 calorie snack with fiber and protein (for example, a small handful of nuts, ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt with 1 serving of fruit, or a hard-boiled egg spread over a rice cake) 1-2 hours before you leave for the party.
2. Bring something healthy with you. This may not work for all parties, but if you have the option of bringing a dish with you, take advantage of it. Salads, vegetable platters with low-fat dips, a fruit tray, or even a lightened-up dessert are all excellent options. Not only will you be contributing to the party, but you will know that there is at least one healthy option that you can choose to help you stay on track.
3. Choose the smallest plate possible. If only large plates are available, see if there is a cocktail napkin you can use instead. We eat with our eyes, and we tend to prefer eating off of very full plates. The smaller the plate, the less food we need to make it look full. It also forces you to choose the items that you want to try the most, which leads us to Tip #4.
4. Don’t just count calories — make your calories count. Remind yourself that you don’t need to eat everything on the buffet or take more than one bite if you decide you don’t care for something. Maybe that means that someone with a sweet tooth enjoys that slice of pie but chooses not to load up on chips and dip; perhaps someone passes on the store-bought cookies that they can buy any time of year, and opts for the pumpkin roll that Aunt Mae only makes during the holidays. Know what foods are worth it to you, savor them, and let others at the party enjoy the rest.
5. Step away from the food. Have you noticed that the food area at a party can get pretty crowded? Next time you’re at a social event, prepare your plate of treats and then migrate to the opposite side of the room to socialize. This will help cut down on mindless snacking, as it takes much more effort and thought to get seconds when the food is farther away.
6. Sip on water. Water can help at holiday parties in several ways. First, it can be easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated will prevent you from feeling hungrier than you truly are. Second, water will take up space in your stomach, which will make you feel fuller and less likely to overeat in a short period of time. Lastly, if you happen to be eating foods that are saltier than usual, drinking more water will actually lessen the bloating that can be associated with eating those foods.
7. If you do fall off the horse, get right back on. Everyone overeats sometimes, and that’s ok. It does not mean your journey toward a healthier life is ruined, or that you should give up even trying. As author Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Try your hardest, and if it doesn’t work out as you had hoped, wake up the next day, and try again.
In addition to managing a variety of health and nutrition education programs for ShopRite, Natalie is a resource for ShopRite customers. If you’re curious about a current diet trend or seeking health and wellness information, click on the link to the right to submit a question to Natalie. Check back each week Natalie posts a new article and iinformation on the health and wellness section of ShopRite.com
Please note: Information contained on this website is intended for informational purposes only and does not replace advice from your doctor or health care provider. Individuals have different needs based on a number of factors including age, gender, ethnicity, level of physical activity, and current health status. For individual recommendations, please consult with a doctor, pharmacist, or a registered dietitian.