It’s that time of year again – December is filled with holiday parties, and sometimes, overindulgence. We are determined to enjoy ourselves this month, but want to feel balanced as well. Here are some useful tips to navigate the endless parties this season without giving up your cheer!
- Pre-party smoothie: Arrive at your party feeling balanced by whipping up a “roadie” that has 15-20 grams of protein. This mega-dose of protein combined with the fat in your smoothies will make you feel satiated so you don’t grab the first appetizer at the party. A balanced blood sugar allows you to feel calm and avoid the calorie-laden desserts and appetizers.
Here’s a tasty green “roadie” smoothie:
2 cups spinach leaves
1 cup greek yogurt
2 tbs. fresh lime juice
- Earn your alcohol: A little hangover can throw you off your game, but you can counteract it by making a plan to work out the day of the party. Get in a good sweat early that day and follow it with your “roadie” filled with protein. If you can’t get to the gym, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or ride your bike to school or work.
- Know the menu: Be as prepared as possible for your holiday party. Put on your Sherlock hat and do some investigating: will there be appetizers or a full meal? Is it a potluck? Will there be beer and wine or a full bar? If you’re concerned about the offerings, you can always ask the host if you can help – offer to bring something! If you’ve got your own food on hand, it’s easier to avoid temptation.
- Start your day with lemon water: This will boost your immune system. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which gives a boost to your immune system and assists the body in fighting colds and flus. We all get run down during the holiday season – there’s shopping for presents, cooking, decorating, attending holiday events… the list is unending. Getting a good dose of vitamin C can also help your body absorb iron, which is crucial for a healthy immune system. Lemon water is going to aid in digestion, repair skin, and reduce your appetite. Lemons contain pectin, a soluble fiber. This fiber will create a feeling of fullness and thus suppress food cravings. You’ll be less likely to grab a poor snack choice throughout the day. More importantly, after a night of possible overindulgence, lemon water acts as a liver cleanser: it purifies and stimulates the liver to produce bile that is crucial for digestion.
- Diminish stress: Everything will come together, don’t worry! Try to take some time for yourself each day, whether that’s via meditation, relaxing with a cup of tea, or taking a quick nap. I meditate regularly to reduce stress.
From Yoga Journal on benefits of meditation:
“Research suggests that mindfulness-meditation training not only reduces stress and anxiety following a stressful episode, but that practicing it can actually help mitigate stress in the moment. In a 2013 study, Kirk Warren Brown, PhD, a psychologist at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and colleagues reported that mindful individuals showed lower brain arousal in response to highly unpleasant images compared with controls. This suggests that mindfulness changes how stress-related emotion centers in the brain are activated. As a result, not only do these brain areas get less active when provoked, but the reaction may be easier to regulate because it’s not so strong, says Brown.”
- Don’t forget about Magnesium: If you do overindulge, replenish yourself the next day with magnesium rich foods. Magnesium is often depleted after consuming alcohol. This will help you avoid the dreaded hangover headache. Some foods high in magnesium: eggs, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Another idea: take a magnesium-rich Epsom salt soak to melt away the pain.
Do you have any tried and true tips for avoiding the urge to indulge during parties? Let me know in the comments!