A blog by runners. For runners.

Don’t pack on the pounds: your holiday party action plan

Step away from the peppermint bark: your holiday party action plan

A lot of people are gearing up to make big resolutions for the New Year. And we’re willing to bet that a lot of those goals have to do with weight. Here’s a little secret: if you eat mindfully now, you’ll have less weight to lose once the New Year begins.

We know – this is the absolute last time of the year that anyone wants to watch what they eat. However, making nutritious food choices doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite holiday goodies. In fact, you can attend – and enjoy – holiday parties without wreaking havoc on your waistline. Just follow our action plan:

  1. Never go to a party hungry. If you’re ravenous when you arrive, you’ll be more likely to overeat. It’s best to eat as you normally would throughout the day—eat normal serving sizes of the typical foods you eat – so you’ll be less likely to overdo it.
  2. Choose apps or dessert – not both. Appetizers and desserts are such a rare treat, so it’s no wonder that a lot of us lose control around them. But if you eat appetizers, desserts, and a regular meal, you’ll end up overindulging big time. Instead, decide if you’ll have an appetizer or dessert before the party so you’re not tempted to have both. If you can’t pass up your favorite items from each part of the meal, only allow yourself a couple of bites of each. 
  3. Contribute healthy dishes. Ask the host if you can bring an appetizer or side item. This is the best way to ensure that there will be nutritious foods to eat. Contribute a crudité platter of raw vegetables and hummus, shrimp cocktail, or vegetables roasted with herbs and olive or coconut oil. Dishes like these are delicious, filling, and pack a nutritional punch. (More ideas for healthy holiday snacks & apps)
  4. Select alcoholic beverages wisely. A few glasses of a holiday cocktail can equal as many calories as a meal. You can still have your cake and drink it, too, though. Just have one glass of your favorite beverage and sip on sparkling water the rest of the evening. Or try diluting a glass of white wine with a splash of seltzer to make it a spritzer.
  5. Focus on people – not food. One of the highlights of the holidays are the delectable seasonal foods. But the real joy of the season comes from spending time with the people who you love most. Take time to catch up with each of your friends and family members. It will be difficult to overeat when you’re in the middle of great conversations.
  6. Station yourself away from the food. Better yet, have those conversations in a room away from the kitchen – preferably one that contains no scrumptious goodies. This way, you won’t be tempted to pop a chip – or 10 – while you’re chatting.
  7. Ignore these rules for one holiday party. Even if you have the best of intentions, you may eat, drink, and be a little to merry one night. And that’s OK. Everything in moderation including moderation, right? Don’t get down on yourself for overdoing it for one day. In fact, allow yourself to go all out for one party. When you wake up the next morning, have a healthy breakfast and head out for a run. No long-term damage will occur from one day of overindulging.

 Written by Jen Matz / Photo Wiki Commons