‘Tis the season of holiday parties filled with ugly sweaters, festive cocktails and endless apps. Whether you’re at your company outing or a Secret Santa party, follow these tips to avoid fa-la-la-la-allng off of your healthy diet wagon.
The number one thing to keep in mind is that there are no do’s and don’ts—just simple choices that don’t skimp on the flavor or fun. ‘Cuz no one wants to party with a Scrooge.
- Pregame with a high-protein snack.
Grab a handful of unsalted almonds and an apple, veggies with 2 tablespoons of hummus, a hard-boiled egg or ¼ of an avocado spread onto a slice of sprouted bread. These options are high in protein and fiber, leaving you satisfied and less likely to dive into that gooey spinach and artichoke dip.
- Choose the right booze.
If you want to toast the night with a festive flute of champagne or wine, limit yourself to one glass. Then switch to a low-sugar option and stick with it for the rest of the night. Choose clear liquor such as vodka, gin, or silver tequila to leave you feeling a little merrier in the AM. Studies show that darker liquor causes worse hangovers because it has higher amounts of toxic compounds that are formed during the fermentation process.
- Mix in low-sugar flavorings.
Avoid sugary mixers and opt for soda water and freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. If you need more flavor (with an extra boost of vitamins) mix in a packet of Emergen-C. Personally, I like the Lemon Lime flavor with tequila and gin and the Super Orange or Lemonade flavors with vodka.
If you can’t pass up the peppermint schnapps shots, check out Clearwater Vodka for a smoother, lower sugar option. This brand offers both cinnamon and mint flavors—so you can now you politely decline Dr. McGillicuddy and his inevitable hangover.
- Stay clean with protein.
When it comes to perusing the buffet, do let yourself indulge in some of the less healthy options (maybe say stick to 1-2)! If you don’t, you could end up eating the whole plate of snickerdoodle cookies at the end of the night.
Go for low-fat, high-protein options. Opt for the shrimp cocktail or chicken skewers over the cheese platter. Instead of using boxed crackers as your dipping vessel, dive in with veggies instead. You’ll get the same flavor without the empty cals of those refined carbs.
- Give the appy scene a facelift.
If you’re going to a friend’s house, offer to bring some appetizers so you know what’s actually going into them. Shed a few layers off of the tray of pigs in a blanket with smoked salmon wrapped asparagus. This alternative is lower in carbs, higher in healthy fats and a source of natural diuretics that will help your bod flush out excess fluid and salt. Instead of digging into the over-sized tub of caramel popcorn, roast some chickpeas seasoned with Himalayan pink salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper for a lower-sugar, nutrient-dense snack. When it comes to dessert, bring a tray of fresh fruit with “cannoli filling” dip—combine fat-free ricotta cheese or cottage cheese, vanilla extract, cinnamon, stevia and sprinkle cacao nibs on top. This dip offers a rich source of calcium and protein, leaving your sweet tooth perfectly satisfied.
If you keep these healthy tips in mind when you’re heading to your next party, you’ll be able to stay on track—even if it means passing up eggnog with Cousin Eddie.