How to Navigate the Holiday Party Spread

Maybe it hasn’t happened just yet, but you’re soon going to be inundated with holiday parties. Whether it’s a get-together with friends, a work holiday party, or a family function, your weekends and evenings will be filled with obligations.

The holidays are supposed to be enjoyable. They’re spent with loved ones and serve as reminders for the important things in life. At the same time, they can also be challenging and stressful

This is especially true for holiday parties, which are filled with opportunities for you to compromise your diet. Appetizers, fried foods, desserts, and even beverages can make it easy to lose track of your calories.

Whether this is your first time trying to maintain a healthy diet during the holiday season or you’ve been in this situation before, it’s always important to have a strategy in place to help you step away from the food table.

It’s Important to Have a Party Strategy

What’s the big deal? Does it really matter if you indulge a little at a holiday party?

The short answer is yes. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging from time to time, holiday parties aren’t usually the best environments for it to happen. Pies, cookies, chips, alcohol, and a litany of other options make it much too easy to fall overboard on your diet.

The truth is, most diets fail and they often fail when you reward yourself for your progress or allow one or two meals to disrupt your progress. Changing your eating patterns for good is a very difficult process that can be overwhelming for many people.

One holiday party might not be your downfall, but a few of them make the balancing act much more difficult. This is why it’s important to have a strategy planned out ahead of time.

When you plan accordingly, it’s much easier to navigate a party so you can leave feeling good about how things went. But your plan has to be much more detailed than simply saying, “I’ll just avoid eating anything unhealthy.”

If it was that easy, dieting wouldn’t be an issue for anyone. Instead, your strategy should revolve around minimizing temptations and cravings. Let’s take a more in-depth look.

Tips for Navigating the Holiday Party Spread

Your strategy may differ depending on the party in question, but these six tips should almost always make the list:

1. Keep track of your drinks

It’s easy to forget about drinking when you’re so focused on watching what you eat. It’s also easy to enjoy a few alcoholic beverages at a holiday get-together. This combination could mean an end to your diet, so be sure to watch how much you drink at these parties.

Even lighter beers can start to pile up the calories as the night wears on, and liquors or mixed drinks can also contain more calories than you might think. 

Drinking too much at a holiday party can make for some embarrassing memories, but it can also soften your resolve and lead to more snacking. There’s no need to abstain entirely, but it’s usually a good idea to delay drinking until it’s time to eat. 

This not only helps cut down on your intake but can also keep you from succumbing to any cravings you might have after one too many.

2. Let others go first and only make one trip

If the party is a buffet-style where you make your own plate, going last - or at least later than most - can be your friend. 

By the time it’s your turn, much of the food will already be picked over, making it easier to resort to smaller portions. Additionally, others will be ready to get second helpings before you’re done eating, lowering the temptation to go up for another plate.

Speaking of which, make sure to only get one plate of food. It’s easy to go up for just one additional portion and end up with an entire second plate. If you put your napkin and silverware on your plate, you’ll be less likely to get seconds. It also helps to just put your plate with the dirty dishes or throw it away if it’s disposable.

3. Eat before or after

It’s always tempting to eat at parties, and it may even be socially expected most of the time. However, when possible, snack or eat before you head to any holiday party. 

You can more easily control your cravings by eating beforehand, and you can ensure your meal is full of natural and healthy foods. If you’re worried about upsetting the host, prepare a healthy snack beforehand so you still have some room for healthier options at the party.

Alternatively, it can also be smart to wait until after the party to eat. Choosing this option requires a strong will, but having a tasty and healthy meal waiting for you at home can keep you honest while you mingle at the party.

4. Don’t accept any leftovers

Sometimes, the host will try to send food home with guests as they leave. While it might feel rude to refuse this kind gesture, it’s important to keep any unhealthy foods out of your home. 

If you feel obligated or the host is adamant that you leave with something, try to accept a dish that is almost gone or contains mostly whole foods. That way, you can accept the host’s gesture without tainting your fridge for the next week.

5. Focus on certain foods

A huge part of navigating holiday parties is to scope out what there is to eat. There will surely be a variety of options to steer clear of, but there will always be healthy dishes floating around. Make sure to get to these dishes first and fill up on them instead of simply grazing.

Veggie trays, fruit-based dishes, and shrimp are pretty common at holiday parties. Eat these, but try to avoid any dipping options that may be with them. Nuts (in moderation), salmon, and any other whole or unprocessed foods can also work.

6. Rely on juices to get you through the holidays

The best way to combat the food found at holiday parties is to build a schedule that allows you to get all the nutrients your body needs. Juices packed with superfoods, vegetables, nutrients, and antioxidants can be the key to your diet during the holidays.

If you have a busy schedule, Smart Pressed Juice’s Organic Pressed Greens will ensure you get all the veggies you need for the day. You can easily whip up a juice or a smoothie before heading out to a holiday party, so you can stop any cravings before they start.

If a holiday party ever gets the best of you, then the Pineapple Chia Cleanse is the way to go. Described as the perfect cheat meal solution, this blend of fiber and superfoods gently removes the waste from unhealthy eating and eliminates toxins.

If you want to enjoy the holidays AND stick to your diet, these six tips can help you build the perfect strategy for doing so. 

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