5 Tips for Staying Healthy at This Season’s Social Gatherings
By Maddy Eiss, Longevity Health Center
As we near the end of the year and begin attending seemingly endless amounts of tailgates, holiday parties, cookie swaps, and the like, our health goals tend to be put on the back burner. Because you can always start again on January 1st, right?
While it can certainly be challenging to continue along your health journey during this time of the year, it is possible!
I have compiled my top 5 tips to help you enjoy yourself at this holiday season’s gatherings without negating all the efforts you’ve put into your wellness routine throughout this year.
- Preparation is Key
You might think of preparing for an event in terms of making sure you have the best tacky Christmas sweater at the ready, or that you have baked the most delectable cookies for your work party, but the preparation I am talking about is not at the surface level. Taking charge of staying healthy at a social gathering can begin with taking digestive enzymes, being well hydrated, and eating something small before you arrive at your neighbors’ decked out entryway.
There are many digestive enzymes on the market that can help your system better tolerate all the party foods. Longevity Health Center’s Nutrition Shop carries many options that will fit in with any dietary restrictions (vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, etc.) so you can stock up for the entire season. Hydrating well before a big event will help you feel more full, aid in proper digestion, flush your system of excess sodium, reduce bloat, and the list goes on.
As far as eating before you attend a party, this might seem contradictory, right? Well, it will actually help you better follow your hunger cues and keep you more clear-headed. It is the same principle as not going to the grocery store hungry – you will end up picking up everything in sight! Choose something healthy like soup, a piece of fruit, or a salad as your pre-event snack.
- Drink Mindfully
Try to limit your intake of sugary, high-calorie drinks and alcoholic beverages. This does not mean you can not consume alcohol and stay on track for your wellness goals. Simply opt to bring a few drinks of your own that are lower in calories and consist of cleaner ingredients.
Another alternative is to bring non-alcoholic beverages like flavored sparkling water or probiotic and enzyme-rich kombucha. These options can keep your taste buds enticed, but will not stimulate your appetite the way that alcohol does.
- Pick your Location Wisely
If you choose to plant yourself in close proximity to the food station, chances are you will be more likely to mindlessly graze. Instead, visit with your friends and family away from the food and beverage spread, keeping your temptations at a distance. Out of sight, out of mind! Shift your priority to socializing and spending quality time with loved ones, and not eating.
- Be Strategic with your Food Selections
Carefully select larger amounts of vegetables and lean protein sources to make up the majority of your plate. With minimal room remaining on your dish, you can select and savor more indulgent foods. While you do want to limit the intake of less nutritious foods, you also want to be cautious in not being overly restrictive, so as to not end up eating excessive amounts of the foods you have been craving all night. Enjoying a small sampling of these special holiday treats can actually help you stay on track for achieving your health objectives. Moderation is key.
- Bring a Healthy Dish to Share
Bring a dish that fits within your dietary needs and preferences. Your party host or hostess as well as the other guests will most likely appreciate this gesture, as it will help them stay on track with their own healthy eating endeavors. It will also give you peace of mind knowing there will be at least one dish you can consume guilt free, and it will ensure you continue to look and feel your best all night long!
I hope these tips inspire you as you head into this season and beyond. At the New Year, when everyone else is looking for ways to overhaul their habits and undo the damage done during the holidays, you’ll be ready to simply continue the progress you’ve been making. After all, leading a vibrant life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!