4 Nutrition Tips to Successfully Navigate Holiday Party Season

If you're like me, it's an annual challenge to nail your nutrition goals during holiday parties and the influx of holiday sweets. 

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Believe me, the struggle is real. 

After all, we're only human and we want to be social beings and indulge.  And that's okay!

It can, however, be the cause of unnecessary stress (like there's not enough of that during the holidays) and feelings of shame.  That shame can spiral out and cause a habit of binge > guilt > binge > guilt > etc.

To help, here are my top 4 personal tips that will help you calm your anxiety and keep you in the driver’s seat at your next holiday gathering.  That way you can ENJOY the holidays and some treats, too!

1. Don't fast for the feast

Skipping meals, restricting calories or starving yourself during the day to lower your intake just so you can eat more at a party can leave you in the “Danger Zone”.  #KennyLoggins

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There is a high chance that you will OVER eat once you get your hands the party appetizers (bacon-wrapped anything, cookies, etc) and negate all the hunger pains you went through to get there.  Add alcohol and lowered inhibitions and you'll likely make up for that deficit...and then some.  The h-anger can be real.

Give the body its regular nutrient-packed meals and your brain won’t be clouded with hunger when you get the party.  This will leave you feeling in control and able to make the best choices for your body.

Pro Tip: sometimes before parties I'll down a whey protein shake to help create a feeling of satiety, hydrate, AND nail my protein intake of course.  Win-Win-Win

2. 'Healthy' foods STILL have calories

Holiday parties usually have rows of buffet style food, or meals that are selected and paid for by someone else.  These may include “healthier” options but that doesn’t mean we need to give ourselves the green light to load up our plate till it’s overflowing.

Select appropriate portion sizes for what your body needs and you won’t walk away from the table feeling as if you could burst.  Instead you'll will sashay away from that table feeling satisfied and happy.  I'm sure you'll feel better tomorrow, too.

Check out some of our infographics from our Instagram on how to use your HAND to help with portion sizes:

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3. There is NO f'ing wagon.

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Sometimes we indulge.  Grandma's famous apple pie comes around once a year and no one is passing that up.  And crazy amounts of baked goods in the office.  

The truth is….. you will be OK!

You didn’t fall off the nutrition wagon.  #ThereIsNoWagon #Seriously #NoSuchThing

Just be aware of that extra baked goodie or glass of wine and ENJOY it!  Savor it!  Then move on.  ENJOY the choices you make and realize that you're on track MOST of the time and that's what counts.  Indulging here and there is just a drop in the bucket and won’t derail your life or fitness goals.

Pro Tip: There is also no need to throw all your hard work out the window and eat everything in sight.  Just make good choices, you'll be just fine.

4. Let's make a deal...

Where we can get into trouble at a holiday party is we consume a larger amount of appetizers and drinks on top of our normal meal.  

Making food “swaps” is a great way to indulge in the things that matter the most to you.  For example, if you're planning to have a few extra drinks, skip the cheese platter you keep eye-balling and go for an extra Sams.  Or if you know you're going to get after that cheesecake everyone is talking about maybe skip the extra glass of wine with dinner.

With these “swaps” you can still enjoy the things you really want but you will stay on top of not crushing too many calories.    This will leave you feeling full and satisfied without depriving yourself!

Here's another AMP infographic to outline swapping:

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Instead of having both options, make a conscious calorie swap for a what you really want.  The underlying message here is pay attention to what you're eating and drinking.  It pays off so things don't get out of hand!

Wrapping It Up

Remember that being at these parties you are surrounded by friends and family that want to spend time with you.  Enjoy these moments...savor them...it's not about the food it's about the company.


Sick of stressing out about your nutrition status?  We want to help!

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