With the holidays quickly approaching, your heart may be filling with cheer — or dread — at the idea of holiday parties and other food-based social gatherings.
If you follow a diet of any type, whether for weight loss, health reasons (such as food allergies or sensitivities) or simply wanting to eat clean to feel your best, holiday parties can be a challenge. You want to be gracious to your host or hostess and enjoy the bountiful spread. You want something to do with your hands, and often a plate and a glass of something take the edge off any social awkwardness. You want to fit in. Heck ... You want to live a little and indulge!
But how can you do that without sacrificing your health?
Here are a few ideas to help you navigate your next holiday gathering without feeling bloated, green and Grinch-like the next day:
- Don't go to restaurants, dinner parties or other food-based events when you're hungry. Have a late lunch or eat something light before you go. That way you won't make poor decisions because you're starving!
- Avoid getting sloshed. The more you drink, the harder it will be to resist that third (or fourth ... or fifth) helping of treats. If you're drinking, alternate a glass of wine with one of sparkling water.
- When invited to someone's home for dinner, politely inform your host/hostess about any food sensitivities in advance so there are no surprises for you OR for him/her. You can also offer to bring a side dish that you know is healthy. Even if your food options are limited, you can load up on the dish you brought.
- If you suffer the "What do I make?!" when hosting dinner guests at your home, consider creating a set menu that you default to every time you have a dinner party. Everyone loves simple grilled steak or fish, a green salad with loads of vegetables and fruit for dessert. Grilled pineapple with a drizzle of balsamic? Yum. Roasted pears with a touch of honey and a sprinkling of lightly toasted nuts? Divine. Meals can still feel decadent even if they're "clean."
- Bring back the concept of supper clubs or progressive dinners. These potluck-style atmospheres makes it easy to pick and choose food items that suit your dietary needs and allow you to contribute something that you know works well for your health.