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 over the festive season.
This can cause unnecessary stress which is the last thing we want! So the key 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 functions, gorge themselves on party food and drink way too much free alcohol!
I’m not much of drinker (2 bottles of Corona is going wild for me these days), so a few tactics are required when it comes to Christmas parties without coming across as a party-pooper… while still having fun at the same time.
Alcohol 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 – Pick your drink carefully and be mindful to hydrate. Not all alcohol is created equal, some are more likely to give you the dreaded hangover based on sugar, toxins and fermenting yeasts. Clear spirits contain the least of these (vodka, gin & rum) with wine and beer at the other end of the scale. A glass of water for every serving of alcohol you drink is a great strategy if you can, remember… hydration, hydration, hydration!
Reducing hangovers – If you do fancy having a few but don’t want to feel like a train wreck the next morning, opt for the single white spirits in a tall glass, mixed with soda water and fresh lemon or lime. You’re keeping yourself hydrated with the soda water whilst still enjoying the vibe. Way, way better than sugar-loaded lemonade or colas, also try to avoid the cordials as the sugars will feed the train wreck too.
Supplementation – If you want a little extra damage control certain dietary supplements can help. Taking vitamin C beforehand, and activated charcoal when you’re finished have been reported to ease symptoms. A greens blend in the morning can help to replenish key nutrients over the holiday period too.
Tactic 2 – Food
Eat before you go out – Fill yourself up with a healthy meal including loads of protein and natural fats before you hit the party. 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 lots of food in your stomach helps with the effects of alcohol as well (see tactic #1).
Limit the processed foods – Opt for the less processed party food options like meat and fish and stock up on vegetables like olives, carrot-sticks etc. which will fill you up with fat and fibre. Of course the odd sausage roll here and there isn’t going to do any harm but if you follow the tips above you’ll stay on track.
Tactic 3 – Dips, Chips & 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 we 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 – Eat it, don’t stress, it is Christmas after all! For a healthy Xmas cake recipe alternative click here.
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. As a final word, ensuring that you’re getting enough quality sleep during this time will pay dividends on energy, mood and cravings too, if you need a few pointers in this area, I’d recommend reading our Ultimate Guide to Sleep here.
Need ideas for healthy festive treats? Try our healthy recipes here.