Written by Brittany Scanniello, RD
Holiday season is officially upon us! The time of year where we seem to have a never-ending holiday party schedule complete with delicious food everywhere we turn and yummy cocktails (for those of us that choose to indulge). Here at Supernola, we know how important this time of year is to connect with family, friends and colleagues and to be present during each and every celebration. We have highlighted some of our favorite ‘go-to’ tips that allow us to continue our health journey while still enjoying the scrumptious spreads set in front of us.
- Do Not Arrive at the Party Hungry!
Although you may be saving your appetite for all the party goodies, if you arrive super famished the odds of you losing all self-control and indulging in everything you see are not in your favor. In other words, you are likely to taste test everything in sight. Instead, have a healthy snack 30 to 60 minutes before the party to ensure you are not starving as you greet the other partygoers. Here at Supernola, we call this “party pre-gaming”. Pre-game so you arrive at the party ready to make healthy, mindful food choices. Pre-game favorites of ours include any of our wholesome Supernola snack bite packs, Greek yogurt, a piece of fresh fruit, nut butter and whole-grain crackers, or hummus and veggies.
- No Need to Rush
Make sure to give some time to greet guests, say your hellos and settle in before you head to the buffet table. Enjoy the social aspect and scout out the room, see who is there – then check out the food and drink. If you know it is going to be a long night, start with a small plate of food and fill up slowly throughout the evening. Take your time to enjoy small amounts of food and drink over the next few hours. It's never fun to over-indulge in the first 15 minutes and then you have a full tummy for the rest of the party.
- Supernola Scoop Rule.
As you are scanning the party goods, aim to identify two or three indulgent dishes you really want to try. Instead of taking full portions of each and leaving with a stomach ache, serve yourself only two tablespoons of each (aka the Supernola Scoop). Using this technique allows you to taste what you want, for a fraction of the calories. Here at Supernola, we are all about mindfulness and being present. Enjoy what you want to while socializing with friends and family – don’t beat yourself up later for decisions you made while having a great time!
- Choose your Beverage Wisely.
Cocktails are made of a variety of liquors, therefore, the calories vary and can be as high as 500 calories per drink. You can’t mess around with the calories in wine or beer: One 5-fluid-ounce glass of wine has about 120 calories, while a 12-ounce bottle of beer runs about 150 calories. If you want to cut back even more on calories, choose light beer, which has about 100 calories per 12-ounce bottle. Stick to a max of two drinks, and sip water or seltzer between drinks so you don’t end up guzzling more than you planned for.
If that fun, holiday cocktail is really what you want – enjoy! We just recommend limiting yourself to one seasonal cocktail as the empty calories can add up quickly even before taking that first bite of food.
- Be Disciplined on Dessert.
Holiday desserts are some of the best throughout the year. We don’t want to miss out, but we also don’t need to eat every single one! We recommend scanning the dessert table like you scanned the hor dourve and entrée table upon entry. Identify one or two desserts that you really want to try and eat only a few bites or even split with a friend or significant other. Oftentimes it takes only a few bites to satisfy that craving. Give in to the craving and enjoy each and every bite! When we restrict ourselves, we often leave the party feeling bad, unfulfilled, and wanting more of what we denied ourselves in the first place.
- Enjoy and be Present!
Holiday parties are the time to catch up with family members and friends that we don’t get around to seeing throughout the year. That being said, put away your tablet, iPhone and the like and take the time to catch up. Enjoy the special moments you get to spend with your loved ones!
Now that we’ve covered what to do at the party, we also wanted to share some of our most important holiday season tips that help us all season long! The holiday season can be long, cold (pending on where you live) and busy! It is easy to allow ourselves to become sleep deprived and stressed as we outline our gift lists, schedule of events and continue with the day-to-day hustle and bustle that our regular routine brings. This holiday season, the Supernola goal for you is to get enough sleep and de-stress.
Our four tried and true “Supernola Holiday Season Rules” are as follows:
1. Set Smart Food Boundaries for Yourself
The holiday season comes with many temptations – food, drink and indulgences. In order to help yourself resist this season, we recommend setting smart food boundaries for yourself ahead of time.
- Pre-game before the party.
- Implement the Supernola Scoop rule when serving yourself at parties.
- Avoid skipping meals to “save room for later”.
- Sit down and slow down when you eat.
- Bring healthy dishes to share so you know there is a mindful option to choose from.
2. Plan Workouts that Work On-the-Go
Traveling may take you out of your daily routine, but it doesn’t have to make you sedentary. There are many ways to get in a workout while you’re away from home (or if you have house guests and can’t make it to the gym).
- Start compiling a list of your favorite equipment-free bodyweight exercises.
- Bring resistance bands or a jump rope with you when you travel.
- Commit to a short HIIT routine (like 10 squats, rest, 10 lunges, rest, 10 crunches, etc.).
- Use the stairs instead of an elevator when you can.
- Park in the back of the parking lot when running errands, shopping or going to an event.
3. Make Movement the New Tradition and Bring Others Along
We get it! Sometimes our plans just don’t allow for the time or space to get a workout in. If that happens, do your best to just keep moving. Inviting family or friends to join in can help you get more active and may even start a new healthy tradition.
Some of our favorite “just move” tips are:
- Kick off a mini-dance party.
- Go for a family walk after a big meal.
- Plan to check out your favorite Christmas light and holiday display by walking instead of driving.
- Stand while you socialize.
- While watching television, plan to stretch or get in a quick HIIT routine during commercial breaks.
4. Reflect and Repeat
Maintaining your weight, health and sanity during the busy holiday season is all about balance and finding yours will take time. It is important to not let setbacks deter you. Instead, make it a habit to be mindful. Spend time reflecting, meditating, and journaling about your progress and experiences. Over time, you'll notice patterns that help you figure out what sticks and what to swap out.
So, during your next holiday event, remember to have fun. Savor the moment, the laughter, the smell of delicious food and the taste of your favorite seasonal goodies. Food and traditions go hand-in-hand for a reason — it can make memories you'll remember for years to come.