From casual pre-Christmas drinks to multi-course festive feasts, Consultant Dietitian Symone Genovezos knows that sustaining a healthy lifestyle is especially tough in December. Here, she shares her tried-and-tested tips for staying in shape during party season.
Don’t forget to hydrate between alcoholic drinks – get into the habit of ordering a water every time you get a boozy beverage.
To avoid hangovers, drink plenty of water before your night out, as well as a big glass before bed. Pass on the cocktails and sweet drinks too, as they increase blood sugar levels and contribute to morning-after headaches.
Skip the Stodge
Look out for lower-carbohydrate canapés like meats, cheeses, olives and vegetables options – they’ll have a lower impact on your blood sugar levels and will help fill you up.
Choose restaurants where you know you can have healthier options, and wherever possible, order vegetables and salad side-dishes.
Don’t Get Too Hungry
Don’t enter a party ravenous – this will make you more tempted to indulge in poor choices and overeat. The best way to avoid this is to have a sensible snack before a cocktail-style gathering. Boiled eggs, hummus and vegetable crudités, a few slices of cheese, a bowl of soup, a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit are all great options.
A good breakfast both before and after a party can make all the difference. Starting the day with protein-rich foods like eggs with smoked salmon or or plain yogurt with berries and nuts will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent snacking and bingeing.
Move, move, move!
Don’t let the busy festive season stop you from exercising. If you know you have a big lunch or dinner planned, prioritise some movement earlier in the day. Exercise can lower blood sugar levels and help insulin work more efficiently. You’ll also feel less guilty about the indulgence that follows.
You can also incorporate activity into your quality time with friends and family: walk to the pub or restaurant, go ice skating, or stroll after lunch. Even shopping and dancing can help get your body moving.
Schedule Some Down-Time
Don’t over-book yourself, and when you’re not socialising, be as good as you can and make healthy choices. Try the 80:20 rule – be ‘good’ 80% of the time and ‘naughty’ 20% of the time – that way you can enjoy yourself without compromising your health. Alternatively, try intermittent fasting: restricting your eating window to just eight hours per day, allowing for a 16-hour fast when possible.
Find a partner-in-crime to help you stick to your goals – it helps to be accountable and it’s also motivating to do things with someone you care about.