- Hannah Aylward
Holiday Party Guide: Making Healthy Choices
Holiday Party Guide: Making Healthy Choices
By Hannah Aylward
The holidays are here, and it is getting a little crazy. We are scrambling to finish projects before the end of the year, making time for family, shopping for presents, attending holiday parties and dinners with in-laws, and enjoying late nights and drink dates. All this while trying to fit in self-care. Boy, it can be difficult.
Whenever I feel this way, I go back to these fundamentals that I know will keep me feeling my best. Here are my top tips for navigating this busy time of year with your health in mind.
Even though this time of year can seem nutty, it is also packed with so much magic, community, celebration, and love! Embrace it. There is much to be thankful for during this time of year. Overflowing calendars are filled with celebrations with those you love! It may throw you out of your routine, but you can get back to that routine for the other 11 months of the year. You will be OK. I promise.
Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Never go to a holiday party hungry!Prior to leaving for a big holiday meal, eat a snack with healthy fats + protein + fiber to ensure stable blood sugar levels. Showing up famished will lead you to overeat, and not the veggie platter. When your blood sugar drops, you will crave refined starches like bread, rice, and pasta, as well as sweets. Choose a low-carb snack like a hard-boiled egg with nut butter, carrot sticks with hummus, or even a few avocado slices drizzled with Himalayan sea salt and olive oil prior to heading out to the holiday party.Sometimes I will even make a mini version of my Morning Power Smoothie.
Reach for the Greens
Fill at least half of your plate with a green, fiber-filled vegetable like green beans, Brussels sprouts, or kale salad. If you do not think there will be a healthy veggie side dish where you are headed for the holidays, bring your own!
Pick and Choose Your Carbs
The holidays typically bring LOTS of carbs. Instead of going wild on every carb-heavy dish at the table, pick your favorite. There is no need to eat them all. Eat slow and enjoy every bite.
I know, they are everywhere this time of year. Too much alcohol can wreak havoc on your health. Instead, try to opt for soda water with bitters and mashed berries. It looks like a cocktail, feels like a cocktail, but it will not give you a hangover.If you do choose to drink, choose tequila, vodka, or mezcal with a twist, on the rocks or with water/soda water and lemon or lime. Skip the beer and wine. Beer and wine have a lot of sugar and potentially gluten and yeast which feed the bad bacteria in the gut. Avoid the drink mixes, as they are loaded with sugar and possibly colors and dyes. Always avoid the added sugars and syrups too. For every cocktail, have a glass of water!
Desserts + Sweets
Bring your own. You can always make a holiday favorite healthier. If you do not have time to make your own, then look for short ingredient lists. If we are talking about a chocolate bar, aim for over 75 percent cacao, organic or non-gmo ingredients, no soy lecithin, and sugar as one of the last ingredients. For other goodies, try to keep them gluten and dairy free which is a lot easier to do nowadays. If you go all in, let yourself go all in! Don’t feel guilt or shame about it. Take a few, mindful bites a move on. Your body can handle it.
Take a digestive enzyme 15 – 20 minutes prior to each large meal to help your body properly digest. After the meal, if you still feel uncomfortably full, try a warm cup of ginger or peppermint tea to soothe your belly.
Complete My 3-Day Gut Reset
Taking a pause to reset is critical during this time. Although indulging is fun and totally necessary, it should not last for two months. Following this gut reset between holidays regularly brings you back to your desired baseline. My 3-Day Gut Reset is short, simple, and effective. It will help diminish bloat, give your digestive system a much-needed rest, and get you off the crazy blood sugar curve. You can totally extend it if you feel up to it.
*We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. You should consult your health care professional before making any changes to your regular health care routine.
Hannah Aylward is a Certified Health Coach, nutrition consultant, fitness instructor, healthy living expert, and founder of HAN. She helps both men and women around the world lose weight, heal skin disturbances, balance hormones, heal gut imbalances and feel at home in their bodies through healthy eating, movement, mindfulness and positive self-talk. Her goal is to help others “learn the tools that they need to live the lives they deserve”. Get to know her by visiting her website and following her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.