How many parties will you attend between now and the end of the year? I have 2 on the schedule so far. Take the Christmas parties, special dinners, New Year’s and birthday parties (we have two birthdays coming up.) Some years, we have had celebrations every week.
Indulging at every party can take its toll. Especially if you mindlessly graze all evening.
Eating Healthy at Holiday Parties
The following tips for eating healthy at holiday parties will save you a few calories but you will still have to remain diligent if you want to avoid holiday weight gain.
1. The Veggie Tray is your Best Friend
Almost every party I’ve attended has had a decent veggie tray but you should still be careful about the dips. Most dips are high calorie and may contain lots of dairy or oil. You can ask to read the labels but if they aren’t available choose salsa and hummus over Ranch or cheese dip. I’m a big fan of guacamole when it’s available but it can add a lot of calories if you aren’t careful.
2. Keep a Drink in your Hand
Preferably water or seltzer but feel free to add lime or other fruit. If you’re at a party where you are mostly standing and mingling the drink in your hand will make it difficult to continuously shovel food in your face.
Alcoholic drinks are high in calories and should be limited or avoided.
3. Avoid the Creamy Dishes
If you are at a fancy dinner there may be course after course of decadent items covered in sauces. That pasta Alfredo may seem innocent but all of the cheese and cream will probably make you sick if you’ve been eating a plant-based diet and may derail you all together if you’ve been struggling to stay the course. The same goes for queso, spinach-artichoke dip and any other creamy sauces.
4. Finish with Fruit
Most of the parties I’ve attended included beautiful desserts with a fruit garnish. While I enjoy a little of the accompanying cake, I also grab the fruit. Most places can easily put together a fruit plate for you.
I usually feel like coffee is enough of an indulgence. It can be the perfect end to a nice dinner. If you are indulging in a decadent dessert make sure you choose a coffee that isn’t loaded with extra calories.
6. Be Mindful of the Snack Foods
Some parties are more casual and have bowls of chips, nuts, and platters of sweets sitting around. Although one or two might not do too much damage, repeated trips will. If you must indulge in these snack foods do so after a real meal and a stop at the veggie tray. If they have small, dessert-sized plates use those instead of a larger dinner plate.
7. Enjoy the Party
Remember the reason you are celebrating. Have fun, enjoy the people in your life and even the food. Don’t feel like someone else’s eating rules are imposed on you. Just make sure you aren’t getting too far off course. If you over do it just start fresh tomorrow.
If you see me at a party I’ll have some chips, cookies and maybe even cake. I’m celebrating after all but I’ll pass on the creamy dishes and the bowl of nuts. I’m comfortable with my choices.
The next day I’ll eat a bowl of soup or chili and focus on healthy eating.
If you need some help recovering from all of the celebrating sign up for the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse and Challenge starting January 1st. It’s a great way to get back on track. The eCourse portion will teach you what you need to know to be successful on a plant-based diet while the Challenge portion will help keep you motivated to meet your goals.