Hanukkah starts in one week and Christmas is a mere 11 days away, and you know what that means. The holiday party season is in full swing! If you’re looking for ways to get through the next couple of crazy-calorie weeks, here are some tips that help me get to New Year’s Day without feeling like I completely fell off the health and fitness wagon.
- Plan Ahead: If you know you’re going to enjoy some cheer after work, don’t starve yourself all day. Instead, eat a sensible breakfast and lunch and don’t forget to have a healthy snack up to one hour before the party starts. This way, you won’t arrive with a rumbling stomach and grab the first thing you see.
- Choose “Smart” Foods First: Many office holiday parties and even get-togethers with the neighbors feature lots of appetizers. Load up on some of the better options first, including the crudités (celery sticks, carrots, bell pepper strips, broccoli and cauliflower). Just try not to drown them in dip. Another good idea is to seek out some protein. I love shrimp, and the good news is with 18 grams of protein in a 3 oz serving, there’s no reason not to! Sushi, skewered chicken or beef tenderloin strips are also a better option than loading up on the cheesy breads or creamy dips.
- Deal with the Dessert Dilemma: The “cocktail and cupcake” party theme seems to be getting more and more popular, at least here in the Big Apple. I admit, I’m a big fan of this concept, but it can wreak havoc on your efforts to eat healthy. If you’re attending this type of bash, you definitely want to eat a sensible small meal before arriving at the party and diving into the sweets. When you do dig in, split a cupcake, cookie or piece of cake with a friend. If there’s any fresh fruit, eat that first.
- Maintain Cocktail Control: The every-other-drink rule works just as well at a holiday party as it does for happy hour. To space out the alcohol consumption, start with a glass of wine or a cocktail, and when your glass is empty, switch to a glass of water, seltzer or diet soda for your next beverage.
- Get Moving! Despite the hustle and bustle of the season, you can find some time to exercise. Remember, getting through 20 minutes of cardio or your favorite workout DVD is better than nothing. If you have a party after work, hit the gym, pop in the DVD or take a walk with a neighbor in the morning. If you live in a city with sidewalks, don’t let the cold stop you in your tracks. Throw on an extra layer, pack the party shoes to go and burn some extra calories by walking to work and/or to the festivities.
Remember, this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. For me, that includes enjoying some holiday cheer…along with some chocolate and probably a few cupcakes. So with a little planning, we can all make it through the holiday party circuit and still have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!