As we all know, ’tis the season to be merry, and that means lots of cheer in the form of Christmas cookies, cream sauces and cocktails. As the countdown to Christmas day ticks away, many of us will be cramming multiple holiday parties into the evenings ahead. So I’m using this Motivation Monday as a time to remind everyone how to get through these calorie-rich days ahead without throwing all your heathy habits out the window!
- Plan Ahead: If you have a party to look forward to after work, do NOT starve yourself all day. Instead, eat a sensible breakfast and lunch and 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 holiday party spreads are full of yummy appetizers. Why not load up on some of the healthier options first, like 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: Cocktails, cupcakes and chocolates are sometimes the center pieces for a holiday bash. I admit, I’m one dessert lover who’s a big fan of this concept, but it can wreak havoc on your efforts to eat healthy. If you’re attending a super sweet bash, you definitely want to eat a sensible small meal before arriving at the party and diving into the tray of sugary treats. When you do dig in, why not 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 be active. Remember, 10 minutes of exercise is better than nothing. If you have a party after work, hit the gym or pop in a fitness DVD at home 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!