Tuesday, December 4, 2012

7 Healthy Holiday Party Tips

Make the party about your relationships with the people…more talk less food and drink.
When we go to a party there are friends and acquaintances we want to join in conversation, some friends we are catching up with while some we are getting to know better and often we are meeting new friends.  As much as we like to make the party about the food if we stick to concentrating on the relationships we will eat less and enjoy more.  Focus on being a good listener and really hearing what friends are saying and talking about, make thoughtful and positive comments in return. You will leave the party with a greater sense of your friends and you will have consumed much less food.

Limit your alcohol consumption to one drink – one drink a day is more than enough alcohol so enjoy the party without the extra alcohol.
It is so easy to overindulge in your alcohol consumption when you are caught up in the excitement of the party, friends and good food.  We often are busy chatting and eating that our drinks are consumed quite mindlessly and before we know it the glass is empty. When you get to the party begin with a glass of water (sparkling water can be fun too), enjoy the water and get yourself hydrated. Once you have drained your water glass wait a few minutes before you get something else. When you do have your alcoholic beverage enjoy it and pay attention to how it tastes, what you like about it and why you are enjoying it. Once you have finished your one drink switch to something else nonalcoholic, either water or juice if it is offered. If you are really paying attention and merely sipping both the first glass of water and your one alcoholic drink you will find yourself satisfied without over indulging.

Have a snack before the party so you do not arrive starving and reaching for the most calorie-laden foods.
In the rush of preparing to go to a party we often arrive hungry and sometimes even feeling ravenous. That is the worst for us because we end up picking at all the foods loaded with fat and sugar and never feel satisfied. Instead take the time to care for yourself by planning your time and leaving time for a small meal or snack before you go to the party. Make the plan to eat before you begin getting ready for the party by making it a priority.  Getting to the party with food in your stomach also helps to put your focus on the party and your friends (see tip 1) and not on the food.

Going to a potluck? Bring something made with nutrient dense whole foods. Not only will you have something good to eat but your friends will be inclined to follow your example too.
It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the party and wanting to show off our fabulous cooking so we don’t always bring the most nutritious dish to share. Instead this year come up with some new and delicious dishes that all your friends will oh and ah over. Try a quinoa salad or a colorful veggie salad for something sweeter make a delicious fruit salad, if you want something warmer bring a crockpot full homemade vegetable soup. Not only will you have a healthy choice but your friends will have one as well!

Don’t stand near the food or the bar that will only lead to extra-unwanted food or drink.
How many times have you found yourself standing next to the buffet table and continuously eating all night?  Make a conscious choice to stand away from the table and plan which foods you will enjoy.  Decide what you will drink at the party before you go and then stick to that plan as well.

Avoid the little snacks like nuts or chocolates that are in the pretty little bowls. If you must reach for some of those snacks take only ONE, one nut or one small piece of chocolate may really be all you need to take the edge off.
How easy it is that we find ourselves picking away at the bowl of nuts or M &M’s and before we know it we have consumed 500 calories in nuts and chocolates. Yes they are pretty and a nice touch but stay away from them if at all possible and if not allow yourself to only have ONE. And before you reach for one nut visualize yourself enjoying the nut as you walk away from the bowl!

On your way to the party visualize yourself driving home from the party pleased with yourself for making healthy food /drink choices and not over indulging, see yourself happy and satisfied with all that you enjoyed at the party.
Remind yourself how awful it is to come home from a party only to feel bloated, stuffed and unhappy with your overconsumption of food and alcohol. Visualizing your excellent choices and the enjoyment of the party will help to solidify your plan at the party.  Have fun at the party and bring that happiness home with you, body, mind and soul!

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