Holiday Gatherings

November and December are the most social times of the year, with holiday gatherings of family, friends, coworkers, charitable organizations, churches, and other organizations. A recent survey showed that the average American will attend at least five holiday gatherings this year. The one thing that all these events have in common is food – usually lots of it! Is it possible to enjoy yourself and still feel great the next day? Absolutely! A few changes can make a big difference.

Prioritize Self-Care

By prioritizing self-care throughout the season, you are likelier to make healthy choices at holiday events.

  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Eat balanced, nutritious meals with plenty of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
  • Minimize high-calorie treats at home and save them for special occasions. 

14 Secrets for Eating Healthy at Holiday Celebrations

While eating healthy at a holiday party may sound like an oxymoron, with a bit of planning before and during the party, you can celebrate with gusto and feel great afterward.

  1. Don’t overschedule. It’s okay to say ‘no’. Attending a party when you are tired or stressed sets you up for eating and drinking more than you planned.
  2. Don’t arrive hungry! Eating a healthy, balanced meal before you go can help prevent you from overindulging on calorie-laden snacks.
  3. Take a healthy dish such as pumpkin hummus with vegetables for dipping, stuffed mini bell peppers, chicken crust pizza, fruit kebabs, or vegetable kabobs.
  4. Think about your purpose for attending the gathering. If your purpose is to gather with friends, focus on the people instead of the food.
  5. Decide how you want to feel after the gathering. If your body doesn’t handle gluten or dairy well, consider whether it is worth it to indulge in foods that will make you feel terrible for a couple of days after you eat them. Look for alternatives you’ll enjoy now and feel good about later.
  6. Be a food snob! Check out the spread and fill most of your plate with fruits, veggies, and protein. Choose one or two special indulgences that you really want to try. Pass on the foods you can easily buy at a store or get at a restaurant.
  7. Practice mindful eating. Pay attention to the flavors, textures, and satisfaction of each bite. Savor your food and eat slowly. This can help you recognize when you’re full.
  8. Use the 3-Bite Rule. Studies show that you get the maximum amount of pleasure from the first three bites. Slowly enjoy each bite. The first bite is “hello”. The second bite is “this is delicious,” and the third bite is “goodbye”. That special treat won’t taste any better after the third bite! Put it down and move on.
  9. Stay hydrated. Carry a glass of water in one hand and sip it throughout the evening.
  10. Minimize or avoid alcohol. Opt for sparkling water in a nice glass with a fruit garnish.
  11. Reduce temptation. Position yourself away from the food or beverage tables or in another room.
  12. Practice mindfulness. Shift your attention from the food to the people. Stay in the moment and actively listen as you talk with different people. Try to learn one new thing about each person that you talk with.
  13. Plan your exit. Consider setting a time limit for the party to avoid late-night snacking.
  14. Practice self-compassion. If you overindulge, don’t judge yourself. Be curious about why you ate more than planned, and think about how you might handle the situation differently next time.

Use these simple, practical strategies to set yourself up for success and stay on track with your long-term health goals.

As a health and life coach, Kay can help you with an individualized plan to reach your health goals and live a rich and wonderful life all year.

Contact Kay for a complimentary consultation. Discover how a few strategic shifts in your mindset and actions can help you feel vibrant and uplifted this holiday season and all year.

“The average American will attend at least five holiday gatherings this year.”