Navigating Holiday Soirées like a Pro

Just because the holidays are upon us doesn’t mean that eating healthy is no longer important!

During this festive season, lots of people become pretty lax when it comes to their eating habits and physical activity. I totally understand, and I have been there! So don't get me wrong, it’s very easy to let loose this month, especially with all the snacks around the workplace and multiple weeknight holiday parties. My will power doesn't stand a chance against some of those decadent treats, cheese platters and finger foods! That doesn't mean I need to avoid holiday celebrations. Plus, it’s not always about “will power”; it’s about mindset, having a plan and being persistent about your goals.

Plenty of research shows that people gain weight during the holidays and unfortunately, it’s not just because people aren’t being mindful of what they eat. Highly motivated people seeking to lose weight are also at high risk of gaining weight this month compared to other times of year. But NOT to worry! Below are 3 tips to keep in mind next time you’re out celebrating the season whether you’re attending a fancy holiday gala, or a potluck party with all your coworkers… You can still have fun and without stressing about overindulgence!

1) Mingle!

Get ready for the research on this… Instead of simply sticking with your typical crew at the next holiday party, be a little social and start a convo with someone you don't know so well. When you talk to your close friends at any kind of party where there is a lot of food involved, research shows that people can eat 20% more than they typically would than if they were talking to people they didn't know as well. Now your focus will be on a great conversation and not resisting the temptations of second and third helpings!

2) Give the party room a once over before picking up a plate

… Especially if it’s all buffet style. Once you see the full selection and what you’re working with, grab a plate and start adding exactly what you want. If you start piling lots of food on your plate in the beginning of the buffet and continue to just keep adding as you go, it’s a lot easier to pack your dish full before you end the buffet table, requiring a second dish.

It’s inevitable that even if you are trying to eat healthy at a party, you’ll likely still eat more than if you portioned out your food at home, so always load up half your plate with a veggie-centric options. The fiber from the veggies will help fill you up and it will take up a lot of room on your plate, giving less space for those creamy casseroles and stuffed breads. Try to avoid getting a sample of EVERYTHING. Remember this - just because it’s there doesn't mean you need to take some. Even if your intention is to only “taste” it, that is not usually how it ends up. 

By giving the room a “once over” before putting your plate together, you are also giving yourself a chance to pick and choose your battles!

Decide which foods you really want to have, and which are just meh

3) Despite any begging the host may do, leave her the leftovers!

Unless of course you brought a healthy dish that you can use for tomorrow’s meal prep. Chances are, there are a lot of desserts leftover, and if that’s the case, respectfully decline. Once you say yes to that yummy leftover pie, you’re giving yourself a constant temptation every time you open the fridge.

Take a piece to indulge in at the party and be mindful while enjoying every bite as you’re eating it. But leave the remainder of the untouched sweets behind! You’ll thank yourself the following morning when decadent snacks are not the first thing you see when you open the fridge. 

Most importantly please enjoy this beautiful season and don't let the fear of gaining weight ruin your time at parties!

Conversely, don't use this month as an excuse to throw all your nutrition knowledge out the window. Hopefully these 3 tips help you navigate all the parties and gatherings with ease. 

Healthfully,
Jaime