A Nutritionist’s Tips for Surviving Party Season

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Being healthy isn’t about deprivation, it’s just about making choices.

The holiday season is in full swing, which often means parties, dinners out, and comfort food on the couch — 'cause baby it’s cold outside! It also tends to mean nutrition and wellness take a back seat as we hustle to complete our to do list before the end of the year. It might sound cheesy but wouldn’t it feel great to enter 2019 feeling good? Read below for my tips on how to stay motivated and survive the holidays without losing your mind or your health.

Be prepared

I can’t say this enough and when it comes to the holidays this can be a total game changer. Do not leave your health to chance but instead pack healthy snacks for travel, bring a healthy (but tasty) dish to the party your headed to, go food shopping and stock your house with healthy grab-and-go eats and don’t show up hungry. If you prepare with these easy hacks you’ll avoid overeating, unplanned indulgences, bloating and even weight gain.

Spoil your appetite

Yes, I know I just went against everything your parents taught you growing up but hear me out. Many people save their calories for events or large meals out so they can “eat more” but I promise, this will backfire on you more often than not. I recommend eating a small snack, about 100 calories, an hour before you head to your event. This will take the edge off and help you make smarter decisions in the end cutting empty calories you did even want! A few of my “go-tos:” Health Warrior chia bars, 100 calorie packs of nuts, ½ an avocado with lime juice and sea salt, or simply a piece of fruit.

Get up and work out

I know time is limited but if you can get your workout in before the day gets started you’ll have more energy and you’ll likely be motivated to stay on point all day. Personally, I am an early morning workout fan, which means the only thing getting in my way is me if I don’t make it to my sweat session. Evenings offer far more excuses and distractions that are more likely to have you say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” So get up and get moving, yes, gift it to yourself. How do I motivate at that ungodly hour? Check out the Aaptiv app for the motivation you need paired with the workout you want!

Free food is not free of calories

Those leftover conference room bagels, your co-workers baked goods or holiday gifts that arrive in the mail might feel free because they didn’t cost you anything monetarily, but they’ll cost you in pounds and inches if you don’t watch your intake. Think before you take a taste, bite or just indulge in “just one” chocolate. If it isn’t worth it, donate it or leave it for someone else. You deserve the best and more often than not, these free items aren’t it.

Pick your poison

This is something I remind my clients of all year long. Being healthy isn’t about deprivation, it’s just about making choices. So when dining out or at an event with temptation around ask yourself: “do I want carbs, cake or cocktails” and decide where you are going to treat yourself that moment. Extra calories usually come from three main areas in these situations: white carbs (think bread basket), cocktails, and dessert (sugar). To keep things a bit tamer, pick one of these three to enjoy and move on. You won’t feel deprived; you’ll feel empowered by choosing what you want most. Remember you can always change your mind tomorrow.

Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN and founder of Real Nutrition.

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