The holidays can be stressful for many reasons, and navigating a holiday party while trying to stay healthy can be challenging. If you feel overwhelmed by the temptations and indulgences typical of the season, here are some tips on how to enjoy gatherings with more ease and joy!

Don’t Skip Meals Before the Party

Don’t restrict yourself before the party or you’ll be more likely to overindulge in simple carbohydrates like sweets, crackers or pastries. About 2 hours before the holiday party, have a healthy high protein snack such as a cheese stick and fruit, Greek yogurt and high fiber granola or a protein shake.

Have Healthy Options Available

If you are hosting the holiday party, serve healthy food and drink options that you like. If you’re a guest, bring your own dish that you know will be a healthier option that you enjoy.

Beverages during a holiday party like eggnog, apple cider, hot chocolate, alcoholic drinks and sodas tend to be high in calories and added sugar. Having non-alcoholic beverages, fruit infused water and carbonated water provide an alternative to the usual holiday drinks. Try having one of these drinks between each holiday drink.

Try more grilled, baked and roasted options for sides rather than fried options to help lower the saturated fat content, which is a type of fat we want to reduce for our heart health.

Set Boundaries

Sometimes family and friends share opinions or make comments about weight and eating habits during the holidays, and it can be hard to prevent those external influences from affecting what we eat.

If someone remarks on what you’re eating, stay true to yourself. Their opinion doesn’t get to determine the way you feel about yourself or the food choices you make. Stay calm and respond in a way that affirms your choice and then continue with your meal and change the subject. 

Let Go of the All or Nothing Mentality

It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking you have to stick to your goals 100% of the time. While working towards our lifestyle goals is important, sometimes we get off course. And that’s okay!  

Give yourself compassion when things don’t seem to be going as well as you’d like. Do your best to zoom out and see the big picture. You are most likely making more progress than you give yourself credit for! When we fall off track from our goals, we can use that a learning experience to help us prevent the same thing from happening again in the future. 

For example, if you give into peer pressure from a family member or friend in having a second slice of dessert when you felt full and didn’t want another slice, start by giving yourself compassion. Imagine how you could have responded differently to the family member or friend and keep it in your back pocket as a way to respond in the future if you find yourself in the same situation.


Looking for more tips for staying healthy during the holidays? Check out these related posts:

11 Hacks for a Heart Healthy Holiday

Emotional Wellness During the Holidays: 21 Survival Tips