Surviving the Christmas and New Years party season without gaining unwanted kilograms can be tough. High fat & high sugar foods at your finger tips (all the time), bar tabs put on by the boss (how can you say no?) & parties every weekend (sometimes twice) make good food choices even harder to make than they were already. Check out this 10 Tip Survival Guide To The Christmas Party Season...
1. Be Realistic
First up, set a 'weight gain limit' to keep you accountable during this time - make sure it's realistic. Losing weight during the Christmas and New Years period is not an option for most of us however aiming to maintain weight (my recommendation) or only gain 1-2kg might be more realistic.
2. Eat Before The Party
Make sure you eat a meal or snack before your Christmas party. Include a good source of protein in your pre party meal such as meat, fish, chicken, beans or eggs to help keep you full for longer and avoid cravings. Going to a party on an empty stomach is a bad idea!
3. Go 1 For 1 With Drinks
If you are drinking alcohol aim for 1 glass of water for every alcoholic drink. This will not only help you feel a whole lot better the following morning but also slow down your alcohol intake and reduce your total energy intake.
4. Bring a Plate (of something healthy)
If it's a 'bring a dish' affair set the example for everyone else and bring a healthy option. I'm sure there will be other guests in attendance that appreciate it also. If they don't, even better, you've got it to yourself.
5. Use 'No Sugar' Mixer Drinks
If you are drinking spirits avoid mixing with soft drink, juice, cordial or any other high sugar mixer. Alcohol has enough energy on it's own without adding more. Try mixing with soda water and lemon or lime or if you absolutely need soft drink choose a diet variety such as coke zero. If you are not drinking alcohol, the same advice applies - avoid sugary drinks.
6. Know & Avoid Your Weaknesses
Be aware of the high fat & high sugar foods that you just can't resist, the foods that you can't stop eating once you start, you know what I'm taking about. If you spot these at the party you need to try and stay as far a way as possible. Even better, avoid being around the food as much as possible. Sit or stand somewhere that the food doesn't get placed down near or pass by so you actually have to get up to get it.
7. Exercise, Exercise & Exercise
Exercise has never been more important than now! Despite your best efforts you will consume more energy during the Christmas and New Years period then any other time of year. It's important that you keep up your exercise to help control your overall 'energy in vs energy out' balance.
8. Learn To Say "No"
Sometimes you just have to say it, don't worry about being impolite. If you're serious about keeping your eating on track you need to be able to say "No". Don't waste your energy intake on foods you don't really enjoy, save it for the things you really like and refuse the rest.
9. Hunt Down The Best (of a bad bunch)
You have to nibble on something, right? Identify the best options available and ignore the rest. Look for cheese, vegetable kebabs, fruit, chicken & salmon bites, filo wraps, sushi and avoid pastries, sandwiches, processed meats & chocolates. Even these better choices require portion control so don't go crazy just because you're at a party, eat them as you would normally.
10. Portion control & Self Control, They're Related
Alcohol and your typical 'party foods' are energy dense and provide very little if any nutritional benefit. A small portion can have a BIG impact on your energy intake. Small servings is the best approach. I know it's hard but it only takes a little self control, you can do it Just remind yourself, you can save yourself a whole lot of catching up in the new year and give yourself something else to celebrate by making better choices now.