So you've made it through the holiday-party season—the one filled with presents, tinsel, and trays upon trays of treats. Good for you! You've navigated one of the hardest parts of the year. But, long after the cookies are gone and the fruit cakes grow even more stale, you may be tempted to break your promise of healthy eating.
After all, your diet and your social life can often seem like mortal enemies. Whether it's the spread at a friend's house party, a restaurant buffet line, or just that extra slice—ahem, sliver—of pie at dinner, resisting those extra eats can feel like a near-impossible feat.
Just because the holidays are over doesn't mean the temptations have left with them. But don't worry, I'm here to help. Eating chicken, veggies, and brown rice 365 days this year isn't realistic, but, with the right timing and choices, you'll be able to branch out from a bland diet while keeping your ripped physique. Here are a few tips on how to stay strong and have fun in 2014 while sticking to your fitness goals!
Don't Skip Meals
First and foremost, don't skip meals all day before your social gathering. Not eating isn't the solution; it's a plan that will backfire. Nine out of ten times, not eating before a party will make you overly hungry and leave you bee-lining straight for the baked goods once the festivities start.
Dieting doesn't have to mean you can't eat anything. Some diet-friendly choices for parties include meat, salad, cranberries, and even potatoes. Just skip the calorie-filled gravies, dressings, and sauces.
If you decide to indulge a bit, keep timing in mind. Your body can only digest an average of 30 grams of carbs, 30 grams of protein, and moderate fat every two hours. The rest goes to waste.1
Don't have one huge meal and then feel sick afterward. Spread it out. Eat a small appetizer, keep your portions under control at dinner, and wait a few hours before diving into dessert. Your body is much more likely to digest your food this way than if you eat everything at once.
Remember not to go crazy with overeating. Pick and choose what you decide to indulge in and remember the importance of timing and portion control. Keep protein, carbs, and fats in each meal you consume.
Stay hydrated, too. Drink water like its going out of style!
Now, let's chat alcohol. While you'd ideally opt for water over wine, that's not always possible. At parties with a fully stocked bar, resisting a tasty alcoholic beverage can be a tall order. If you are a person who enjoys having a beverage at a party, make a conscious choice. Prefer wine? Opt for red over white. It's filled with good-for-you antioxidants that a study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found can aid in digestive health and help shift the bacteria in your digestive track to the good kind—lessening issues like weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory bowl disease.2
Do you only drink white wine? Go with a dryer wine like chardonnay, pinot grigio, or sauvignon blanc. Dry wines were fermented to dryness, so they don't have any residual sugar.3 No matter your choice, limit yourself to 1-2 glasses.
If you're a hard alcohol drinker, skip the overly sweet martinis, and creamy beverages. Low-calorie vodka and soda should be your go-to choice. Before you clink glasses, remember: It's easy to drink away your daily caloric intake in just a few martinis or mixed drinks. Sip and savor.
My biggest weakness is the dessert assortment. Who doesn't love a tray filled with brownies, cookies, and cakes? Personally, I'm a sucker for my homemade apple pie a la mode! If I am not careful, I could easily eat the whole thing.
Let your dinner digest before starting on dessert. Instead of divvying up the pie and going for a slice of everything, decide what you want most. Pick out a small slice. More often than not, that smaller piece will be just as satisfying as the large piece you opted for last time, and there's less of a chance of you feeling so full you're going to pop.