By Guy Lawrence
You can’t have your cake and eat it too… Can you? If you are a bit of a foodie/health nut like myself, you can spend just as much time and energy worrying about what you eat as enjoying yourself whilst at Christmas parties.
This can cause unnecessary stress which is the last thing we want! So the key for me is finding that balance of enjoying yourself and letting go, but staying on top of things at the same time. Here’s a few things I’ll do…
Tactic #1 - Alcohol
Let’s be honest here, most people turn up to Christmas work parties, stuff their face with food and generally get wasted on free alcohol!
I’m not much of drinker (2 glasses of red is going wild for me these days), so tactics are required when it comes to Christmas parties without coming across as a douchebag food snob or sourpuss… and having fun at the same time.
Good Strategy - Always have a drink in your hand and sip it slowly. People generally leave you alone for some reason if they think you are getting drunk with them. I’ve never understood the peer pressure behind this. When people get three parts sloshed, they can never work out if you are sober or drunk anyway, so why the hassle in the first place?
What to drink - I avoid beer these days because of the wheat. Budda-belly comes on fast and I always remind myself of this before caving in to the cold amber nectar! Instead I go for a glass of red. Not quite the Welsh Guinness guzzler of old, but I’m happy to take the banter on the chin if I’m with any of my old footy mates! And as I’m sipping it slowly, the red wine gets really warm in my hand, has had plenty of time to breath and tastes twice as good!
Reducing hangovers - If you do fancy having a few but don’t want to feel like a train wreck the next morning, drink single white spirits in a tall glass (vodka’s good), soda water and fresh lemon or lime. You’re keeping yourself hydrated with the soda water whilst still getting amongst it. Way, way better than sugar loaded lemonade or coke. Also avoid the cordials as the sugar there will feed the train wreck too.
Another good call is for every glass of alcohol, have the equivalent in a glass of water. Hydration, hydration, hydration. School boy error otherwise! Yes you’ll end up going to the bathroom more, but hey, there’s always an interesting conversation to be had with a drunk there.
Tactic #2 – Food
Strategy 1 – Eat before you go out. Gorge yourself on clean healthy food including loads of great natural fats. People might think you are a rabbit when you’re there, but it’s better than starving or caving in to the chips because you feel faint with hunger.
Having lot’s of food in your stomach too helps with alcohol (see tactic #1).
Strategy 2 – Especially if you missed the opportunity with strategy 1. Fill your plate full of food anyway, and just pick at the meat. Pray there’s fresh salmon there and leave the sausage roll on your plate. Bit like the drinking strategy, people won’t feel threatened by the fact that you actually care about what you put in your body, because they can see all the bad food on your plate.
Strategy 3 – Combine strategy 1 & 2 together. You may not be able to move on the dance floor, but you are still doing yourself a lot of favours for tactic #1!
Tactic #3 – Dips, Chips & Xmas Cake
Dips – I read an article on double dipping once and haven’t been able to shake the thought of it ever since. The dips become a breeding ground and you’re just inviting the unwanted in. If you’re gonna dip, be the first in and let everyone else spread the love!
Chips – These are what you call domino foods. All well and good picking on the odd chip to get that salty savoury fix, but as we both know, once you pop you can’t stop. A nice way of stocking up on those trans-fats (yes they are bad) and spiking blood sugar.
You could have one chip and go for the first dip, but this is a tricky art to master and much discipline is required.
Christmas Cake - Courtesy is needed here. I think there’s a big difference to spoiling yourself and having some cake Christmas day, to say, having a 3pm fix of it everyday for a week straight over the holiday period. When cake is handed out, you can:
A. Eat it. It is Christmas after all! For a healthy Xmas cake recipe alternative CLICK HERE.
B. I swear to god when I’m with family, they must think I need fattening up because the cake and chocolates continually come flying at me (love you guys). What I do in this situation is take a bite, resort to tactic #1 & strategy 2, float around the room mingling, then slip the plate off to one side when no-one is looking.
C. You could simply give the cake to someone else. I always feel a little guilty though as I know that sugar fix isn’t really doing them any favours!
Fun aside, I do think it’s important to let your hair down once in a while, I know I do. In saying that, when parties come at us thick and fast over the holiday season, it’s wise to have a few tactics up your sleeve and not cave into too much peer pressure.
For all you health nuts/foodies like myself out there, how do you handle the party season? Love to hear your thoughts, Guy
Need ideas for healthy festive treats? Try our healthy recipes here.