The Healthiest Choice at the Holiday Party Isn’t Always What You Think

The Healthiest Choice at the Holiday Party Isn’t Always What You Think

You’ve probably been inundated with articles telling you how to stay healthy during Party Season this year: Have the raw vegetables and wine spritzers. Stay far, far away from the cheeseball. Do not eat any of those frosted sugar cookies!! Have a carrot instead!

You probably don’t need any more advice like that, right? You already know what you’re supposed to eat. These tips are different, and will help you to enjoy the holiday season while still being able to have a taste of the cheeseball.

  1. Watch your alcohol consumption. Only you and your health care provider know if and when alcohol has a place in your diet, but no matter what conclusion you’ve come to, be especially careful with this around the holidays. Alcohol is free-flowing and can have a major impact on your health, and not in just the obvious ways. For instance, no matter how many times you’ve told yourself you’ll only have one brownie, if you’ve been drinking, any self-control will probably fly right out the window. In addition to that, over indulging in alcohol is likely to have you feeling less than stellar the next day, and you know what that means? You’ll have a great reason to skip your morning workout. Instead of many cocktails per party, try sticking to one drink and having a fun, bubbly mocktail in your hand for the rest of the shindig.
  1. Choose what you really want. I know you’re supposed to focus on fruits and veggies and lean meats and whole grains, but sometimes there is something just too delicious to pass up at a party, and it would be a shame to miss out on something that you don’t normally get to enjoy. If you really, really want a slice of caramel cheesecake, take a sliver, then go sit down somewhere and actually pay attention to the food you’re eating. So much overeating takes place when we’re not even paying attention, either because we’re watching TV, eating really quickly, or thinking about how guilty we feel for eating the food in the first place. If you want something, have it, but keep the portion reasonable and actually savor it and enjoy it.
  1. Focus on the party, not the food. I was at a birthday bash with a ton of food the other week, and between chasing around my toddler, debating the best Pearl Jam song ever with another guest, and hanging out with my close friends, by the end of the party I realized that I had not overindulged at all, even when a cookie cake was present. I was having too much fun with the people to have time to obsess about the food. The thing is, when you’re focusing on other wonderful, joyful things at a party - like how great the décor is, or how much you love that pair of shoes she’s wearing, or learning more about a new friend - the less likely you are to be preoccupied with food. Make yourself a plate, pay attention while you eat it, and make sure your hunger is satisfied, but otherwise, enjoy all the party has to offer.
  1. Make sure you’re taking some time for yourself. This is often overlooked and is so important to your overall well-being. During this stressful season, it’s essential that you say no to being overbooked, make time for activities you enjoy, and find ways to manage stress so that you don’t find yourself turning to food or TV to deal with it all. If you’re not taking good care of yourself, all of the tips in the world about how to handle a holiday party will not keep you from overdoing it.

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