With only a few weeks til Christmas (yep!), the party season is about to kick off. It’s easy to give up on healthy eating and living at this time of year, but with a little preparation and a few tricks, you can feast, get festive and come out the other side feeling good. Here’s how.
Eat before you drink
To stay on track during the silly season, never arrive at a party hungry. And if you’re planning on having a tipple or two, don’t start drinking on an empty stomach. Before you head out, eat a satiating, protein-rich snack to fill you up and slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Go for Greek yoghurt, a piece of low-GI fruit, protein balls, or veggie chips. We love Vege Deli Lentil Crisps – they’re a great source of protein, iron, dietary fibre and manganese, and they absolutely melt in your mouth. De-lish. If you’re going straight from the boardroom to the bar, munch on the healthiest options on offer, such as olives, raw nuts, grilled seafood/chicken and green salads. Sit if possible, eat slowly and put your fork down between each bite. Remember, your body can handle the odd indulgence. It can’t handle an influx of sugary, fatty foods, so skip the canapes and desserts.
Dehydration is one of the major symptoms of the party season. It’s the culprit of crazy-busy days and too many late nights, and causes those dreaded hangovers. To avoid getting dehydrated (and waking up feeling dusty), limit your alcohol intake to one drink every two hours, and enjoy a full glass of water in between. This gives your liver a chance to process the alcohol properly, which will prevent it from building up in your bloodstream. If you don’t want to drink but feel the need to hold a glass in your hand in a social situation, just order a soda water with fresh lime – no one will ever know!
Bonus tip: When you get home from a party, drink some coconut water to replace any lost electrolytes and prevent delightful side-effects like headaches.
Load up on antioxidants
When your social calendar is full, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re getting all the right nutrients. To lift your energy levels and keep your skin and hair in tip-top condition, increase your antioxidant intake. Rich sources of antioxidants include oranges, blueberries, green tea, acai berries, tomatoes and parsley. Antioxidants also assist the body’s detoxification process and help to combat free radical production, which damages cells in the body and leaves you looking and feeling worse for wear… So, eat up!
Bonus tip: Set one day a week aside to eat lightly and give your body a chance to reset and reenergise. Think smoothies, salads, soups and fresh juices.
Pop some supplements
Speaking of nutrition, do your body (and mind) a favour and take vitamins. Try a B-complex for energy and elimination, St Mary’s thistle to protect the liver and remove toxins (like alcohol) from the body, and probiotics to improve digestion, which can be thrown off by eating rich or different food, or drinking more than usual. You may also want to take a good-quality multivitamin to replenish the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive, such as vitamin C, magnesium and zinc.
Sure, with everything going on, it may be harder to make the time or muster up the motivation to hit the gym – but try to move your body every day. Along with getting the blood pumping, exercise helps to relieve stress, regulate blood sugar and improve sleep – all things we need to take care of during the holidays. Plus, it offsets the increase in food and drink intake, which is natural this time of year. So, do your usual cardio and strength workouts where possible, and boost your incidental exercise by taking the stairs, getting off a couple of bus stops earlier, and walking wherever you can. And if you’re here in Australia, get your endorphin fix while soaking up the sunshine with a swim, game of cricket or a soft sand jog!
Bonus tip: Make yourself accountable by enlisting a friend to exercise with. If there’s someone waiting for you, you’ll be less tempted to cancel that morning workout.
Be comfortable saying no
Peer pressure is most rampant during the silly season. The problem is, succumbing to every plea to have “one more drink” or “another slice of cake” adds up, and can really derail your healthy eating efforts. When you’re offered something you don’t want, politely and firmly say, “It looks great, but no, thanks.” Don’t worry about offending people; health comes first and if your friends, family and colleagues support you, they’ll understand. While it’s not realistic to maintain your entire healthy routine in the lead-up to the holidays, you can make the best choices with what you’re given.
Good luck and happy holidays!
How do you stay healthy during the silly season? Do you have any tips to add?