‘Tis the season to be jolly. Come December and the party scene is on in full swing. Late nights, calorie –rich foods, high alcohol consumption are the norm of this time of the year. However, they leave you feeling less than fabulous when you come out on the other side (read New Year). Now, let’s be realistic; we know we will party… We know we will eat and drink all that we are ideally not supposed to….and we also know we will end up with spilling a waistline and a guilty conscious. So how do we survive the party season without compromising on our health?
The good news is that by making some smart switches we can quite easily temper the ill-effects of the holiday season without compromising on the fun quotient. Try these simple strategies when you want to eat, drink, make merry & stay healthy in the holiday season
Plan it out
Take the first step towards a healthy holiday season by taking a look at your party schedule and making a food plan. List out how many social engagements you have and assess how much you can allow yourself to indulge in each of them. If it’s an office soiree you can easily limit your party excitement for that evening and eat and drink a little lesser than what you would at your buddy’s party. You should also choose and select the parties you want to attend. You necessarily don’t have to go to EVERY party that you are invited to.
Check the alcohol
Since alcohol flows freely, it can be quite a task to check your intake. So adopt a simple strategy. Order one drink at a time and aim for roughly one drink per hour. Alternate one drink with one glass of water to space out your intake your alcoholic drink. If you feel that water is boring then switch still water with sparkling water with a twist of lime. This will be easier on your liver and also limit your calorie intake per average serving.
Power pack your diet
Since you know your one meal will be high in calories make the smart food switch for other meals. Start your day with a heavy, nutritionally rich breakfast. Porridge with some nuts and cranberries help in stabilizing your blood sugar levels and help you stay fuller for longer. Having a breakfast frittata packed with veggies the morning after will help your stomach settle. Can’t face a cooked breakfast after a heavy night of partying? Have a smoothie made with potassium rich fruits such as bananas, kiwi or oranges to replenish electrolytes lost because of the diuretic effects of alcohol. This helps in controlling your appetite for the rest of the day. Add fruits, nuts and seeds to your diet. Ensure that you have whole grains such as oats and brown sugar to keep your blood pressure from spiking. Add coloured fruits and veggies to get the anti-oxidants that you need to recuperate. Have grilled chicken or fish and lentils to keep your protein levels up. Have probiotic yogurt to boost your immunity to combat the negative effects of alcohol and less sleep.
Have a pre-party snack
It can be hard to resist the canapes when you arrive starving at a party. Always have a pre-party snack. This will not only delay’s the effects that that first glass of wine will have on you if you drink on an empty stomach but will also help you stick to a reasonably decent diet. Having a bowl of yogurt with sliced bananas, a bowl of muesli, a mug of chunky vegetable soup all work wonderfully when you want to stick to your resolve of eating responsibly.
Your body will need a bit of exercise during the party season, and no, boogying the night away does not count! Build in a brisk 10-minute walk/run or high intensity 10-minute workouts into your everyday routine. Not only will you have more energy, you’ll be able to work off the extra calories you packed in from last night’s party.
Alcohol consumption depletes several nutrients from our bodies. It affects or B vitamins, zinc levels and irritates the gastrointestinal system. Have a good quality multi-vitamin every day. On days when alcohol consumption is higher, have a second multi-vitamin during lunch time. Make sure your alcohol metabolism is up to speed by taking zinc and Vitamin B3 supplements. Add a probiotic to your daily diet to keep your gut flora safe from the sugar present in the alcohol.
Finally, you need to get back on track after a big night out. Follow the 80:20 rule to balance your diet. Eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge in the remaining 20%. Finally, if you are going to be drinking, leave the car at home and walk or hire a car to take you to your party destination.