Eat Smart & Still Party Hard This Holiday Season!
Hello my radiant readers!
We have made it to the home stretch of 2016! It’s the season for giving back, showing appreciation for the wonderful people in our lives and, of course, for celebrating! With all those party invitations, potlucks, catered buffets, fancy dinners and long brunches comes the temptation to indulge without a care!
It’s no surprise people joke about wearing their “winter bods”. It’s hard to resist overfilling our plates and stomachs, which can lead to weight gain, sleep problems, fatigue, stomach aches, digestive issues and skin irritation. Talk about some bad presents!
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way this year! With a little preparation, you can head into any gathering ready to enjoy yourself without overindulging. So before you lose your head over all the sweet treats calling your name, check out my top tips to eat smart and still party hard this season.
Don’t Skip Breakfast (or Lunch).
The oh-too-common thought is simple: “I just won’t eat all day, so I’ll have plenty of room for all the delicious treats tonight!” Okay, news flash, your stomach is not like a suitcase; you can’t manage space like that. And you need the proper nutrients to get through the 18-20 hours BEFORE the party begins. Hours that require concentration and energy for things like your job, driving a car, and holding conversations.
Plus, not eating properly leading up to an event will cause you to overeat and scarf down your food too fast, which then leads to digestive trouble and weight gain. So be sure to eat a regular breakfast and lunch with lean protein and plenty of greens.
Did you really think I’d forget to include this bad boy? Never! You’ve got to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Not only does water keep your entire body working efficiently and prevent you from feeling sluggish, it also curbs cravings. In fact, when you feel hungry, you may actually just be thirsty. And in the cold, dry winter weather, it’s good for your complexion too! It’s a win-win, so keep that glass full throughout the day.
When party time rolls around, have 8-16 ounces of water before you dig in. Not only does that extra water help fill you up so you munch less (a weight loss bonus), it also sets the stage for your stomach to properly digest your food.
(P.S. I feel it should go without saying, but easy does it on the alcohol. It dehydrates you in addition to adding empty calories and gifting you with a mean hangover.)
Buffets are designed to be tempting, my friends. It’s natural to be dazzled by the bright colors and sweet smells and want to sample a little of everything. The same goes for fancy dinners when someone else is footing the bill. Just because there are so many delicious dishes available doesn’t mean you have to eat them all.
Remember your own priorities and specific body needs. If gluten messes with your digestion, don’t pile your plate with rolls and pasta, no matter how savory. If sugar leaves you feeling groggy the next day, step away from the cookies, pronto! It’s fine to pick a couple of special indulgences to try, but stick to the foods that make your body feel good.
Take Your Time.
Finally, it’s super important to eat with awareness, not just around the holidays, but always. So start out with the smaller plate. After you finish eating, don’t rush straight back for seconds. According to dietitian Joanne V. Lichten, Ph.D., it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full. So stand up, work the room and engage in conversation with your friends, family and coworkers. Then you can reevaluate if you’re still feeling the need to go back for round two.
I’d love to hear your tips for facing off with party fare. How do you keep yourself from overindulging? Please post your ideas in the comments below!
LOVE + lots of celebrating!