With the Super Bowl fast approaching, a common question I am asked is how to eat healthy at parties or other social gatherings. While it is important to be social and enjoy these moments, they don’t have to completely derail you from your goals. Try these 5 simple strategies to stay healthy through the festivities.
For every drink you have, follow it up with a tall glass of water. Not only will this help pace your drinking, but water will help keep you full which will keep you from snacking. Also, by staying hydrated, you can reduce the likelihood or severity of a hangover the next day. Many of the negative effects we feel from hangovers are actually caused by the dehydrating effect of alcohol. Water is a powerful tool in your quest to better health.
Find some friends away from the food and chat them up! Much of the eating we do at parties isn’t because we are actually hungry, but rather that we want something to do and food is easily accessible. Instead, try to separate yourself from the food. By striking up conversation with someone, not only will you get to know them better, you can keep yourself occupied and less likely to feel tempted to get snacks simply for something to do.
Bring a Dish:
One of the most common things I hear people complain about when it comes to trying to stay healthy at a party is that there are no healthy options. While this may commonly be true, it is easily fixable. If you search Google, Pinterest or any of the great recipe sites like Allrecipes (my favorite) you will find plenty of healthy alternatives to favorite party snacks. When trying to decide upon a dish, look for a choice that contains some sort of lean protein as you won’t find many good lean protein choices at most parties. Some good go-to’s would be beef or chicken skewers, veggies with ranch greek yogurt dip (dry ranch seasoning mixed with greek yogurt makes a tasty, protein packed dip), a make your own parfait kit (vanilla greek yogurt, granola, and a variety of berries/fruit), a healthy salad you know that you’ll enjoy or even healthy BBQ. Your options are only limited by your creativity. Bring a healthy dish you know you will enjoy and you will have an easy go to when hunger strikes.
Go for a Walk:
I know I use this one all the time, but it is one of my favorites and is a great chance to have some one-on-one time with a loved one. If you can find a good moment, excuse yourself for 10-15 minutes and go for a walk with someone. This can get you away from the commotion and food for a while, burn some extra calories and give you a chance to have a private conversation with someone you enjoy.
Give Yourself a Clean Slate:
At the end of the day, don’t beat yourself up. Many of us are overly critical of ourselves and will overreact to a night of unhealthy, but fun decisions. Sometimes you just need those nights to reconnect with friends and to refresh yourself mentally. Just remember, tomorrow is a new day. Give yourself a clean slate and keep moving forward. If you beat yourself up over it you will likely either over-react and then burn yourself out with overly difficult workouts and drastic nutritional decisions or go the other way with it and beat down your confidence and motivation and fall into more bad habits. Both of these paths will hold you back in the long run. No matter how the night went, the next day simply give yourself a clean slate, keep your chin up and keep moving forward.
While these are five strategies I have found useful, there are countless strategies you can use based on what you know about yourself and your biggest nutritional and behavioral obstacles. The important thing is to plan ahead, go into the night with a strategy in mind and, at the end of the night, give yourself a clean slate. I hope you all enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave comments below and let me know if there are any other topics you would like to learn more about. Have a happy and healthy day!