Do you make a resolution every January 1st to lose weight, or clean up your diet? Most of us have regrets about overindulging during the final few weeks of the year. This season, change the script! All it takes is a little planning and mindfulness. Think you can do it? Here are five tips to navigate holiday party eating — and no, deprivation is not what we’re talking about!
Pick a Protein
This is a physiological thing, folks. Most of the good stuff comes in the form of carbs, and they don’t fill you up. Bummer. You know exactly what I’m saying if you’ve ever downed a bag of chips by yourself (and I’m sure we’ve all been there).
At your next holiday party, make sure you include a protein on your plate like meat, fish, cheese, or beans. The protein will help keep you full, leaving less room for carby treats. My favorite protein at holiday parties is shrimp cocktail. It’s a special treat, high in protein, and low in calories.
Do NOT Skip Meals
Sometimes you think you can balance things out at a holiday shindig if you under eat earlier in the day. Usually, that just leads to being ravenous and having no control once you get to the party. Not a good feeling! Your best bet is to eat regular, balanced meals throughout the day. Try to get some fruits and vegetables in beforehand too, since you typically won’t find many at the party.
Take What You Like, Leave What You Don’t
That pumpkin cheesecake doesn’t taste as amazing as it looked? There are no rules that you have to finish. I repeat: Put the fork down if you’re not into it. You won’t feel satisfied if you indulge in treats you don’t love. So don’t feel bad about leaving them (and the extra calories) behind. Afraid you’ll offend the chef? There’s always the excuse, “this is great but I’m just way too full to eat another bite!”
Go Ahead, Treat Yo’Self
It’s no fun to deprive yourself of all the things you love. Go to the party knowing that it’s okay to splurge a little. Sometimes when you say you’re not going to eat something, you eat it anyway, but then feel guilty, and it’s no longer an enjoyable treat. So choose to be kind to yourself. Go to the party knowing it’s fine to eat something you wouldn’t normally have on a regular basis. Depriving yourself can lead to binging later on, which is so not worth it!
Enjoy the Heck Out of the Party
Remember that parties are not just about eating. They are about relaxing, celebrating, and enjoying time with friends and family. Take time to enjoy the food, but then move on. Be in the moment, and take note of all the things making you happy!
Kacie Barnes is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who provides virtual and in-person nutrition coaching and expert advice at Barnes Nutrition and Wellness. She also blogs at mamaknowsnutrition.com. Kacie has a Master of Clinical Nutrition degree from UT Southwestern. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband and two children. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.