The party season has arrived. For many of us, the holidays have become a passport to 30+ days of culinary temptations loaded with alcohol, processed finger foods, cookies, and other sugar-filled treats. Unfortunately, for most of us, the party season can bring about anxious times, as our guilt-free years are behind us, and we focus incessantly on our waistlines, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. With each office party buffet, and neighborhood get together, we fight the battle of controlling our cravings for the high calorie, low nutritional foods served up at each event.
The good news, there is another way to approach the holiday festivities, and the temptations they bring. If you want to unapologetically attend upcoming events, yet get a grip over the party junk food, try these wise, health conscious tips:
- SET GOALS: Let’s face it, we are all aware of what we are trying to achieve when it comes to our own health goals. If you know sugar packed snacks and processed foods are a health risk, establish a mindset ahead of schedule. This may not keep you from enjoying a treat or two, however, it will go a long way in helping you cut down on ravaging the snack and appetizer table.
- COMBAT THE PARTY TEMPTATIONS: A great way to cut down on party time snacking is to arrive at any event already full. Consider eating a meal full of protein, good fats, and vegetables one hour prior to any holiday get together. This combination will keep you pleasantly full for hours, and will also curb your cravings for sugar-filled snacks. And stay away from the alcohol!! Not only will it ruin the morning after, but it can take away your self control and push you controllably toward sugar-containing foods.
- MANAGE THE PARTY PUSHERS: Every party has a person or two that insists you try something. Sometimes, the pressures can be over powering, and a simple, “NO” won’t satisfy the pusher. Not that lying is the best way to go, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Don’t feel bad making up a story, such as “I’m on medication right now that won’t allow me to eat certain foods, especially sugar or gluten-containing ingredients,” or “I’d prefer to enjoy the company, rather than the food.”
- WHAT TO GRAB: Most party get-togethers have something reasonably healthy, such as raw vegetables, fruits, or nuts. Look for the “best of the worst” foods, and try to contain your cravings to that pile.
- CHEAT WITH CONTROL: Let’s face it—it takes a strong-willed person to avoid all temptations. So, in the end, when you grab for the chocolate chip cookies, the caramels, or the candied apples, don’t beat yourself up. Just do your best to control the amounts. Eat slowly, talk a lot, and drink plenty of water. Just know that you can limit your intake.
- READJUST THE NEXT DAY: We all fall off the wagon now and then. The way to keep control is to immediately adjust back to your healthy eating patterns. Don’t allow one incident to throw you off course. Successful, healthy eaters cheat too, but they have the ability to get back on track quickly.
There you have it—the ins and outs of enjoying the holiday party season. Just remember, you, and only you, can control your health. In the end, it’s all about how you manage your goals over time. One night won’t ruin your health, as long as you are consistent the majority of the time.
Yours in Health,
Douglas Ferner Sr.