Nutritionist Kelly Leveque just gets us. She’s a girl’s girl to the core, full of useful ideas for balanced living like the below, and a little nerdy about the science of nutrition (we get it!)
As a holistic health coach, Kelly helps everyone from A-list celebs to brides-to-be to prep for big events. Here, she’s helping us to prep and stay balanced throughout the “big event” that is December. We’re determined to enjoy ourselves fully this month (per our Guest Editor’s advice,) but want to feel balanced at the same time! Take note of Kelly’s great tips for navigating holiday party season – we love all six, especially her pre-party smoothie: order an Uber, blend up your fave protein shake, and arrive at your destination less likely to maul an entire tray of chocolate truffles…
Kelly LeVeque’s 6 Healthy Holiday Party Tricks
The Pre-Party Smoothie:
Arrive at parties feeling balanced by ingesting 15-20 grams of protein before the party. Protein and fat help to balance blood sugar and make us feel satiated. This strategy helps you to not feel ravenous and grab the first tray-passed appetizer without thinking. My clients affectionately coined this technique the “roadie” and enjoy a light protein shake on the way to their events. Arriving with balanced blood sugar allows you to feel calm avoiding the holiday party pitfalls or calorie-laden desserts and appetizers.
Earn your Alcohol:
Make a pact with yourself that you will workout the day of the event and the day after. A little hangover can throw you off your game and get you out of your healthy routine.
The perfect time to workout would be 2-3 hours before the event, followed by a protein-based snack, then hair and makeup. If you don’t have time to work out right before the event, no sweat, before work or midday works too. It is all about staying active and making room in your muscles to soak up the extra holiday glucose.
At Be Well, we encourage our clients to make a choice between alcohol and dessert. Many clients are also surprised when we suggest a small piece of dark chocolate over a fruit plate. Partygoers who choose fruit allow themselves a pretty large portion when one bite of chocolate would hit the spot without the added fructose. Unfortunately, 100% of fructose is metabolized in the liver and with alcohol and fructose both filtering primarily to the liver we are taxing the body with a heavy post-party detox.
Know the Menu:
The best way to survive a holiday party is to know what you are walking into. Being as prepared as possible for your holiday parties allows you to make decisions ahead of time and stick to your guns. Be a detective. Will there be a full meal or tray-passed appetizers only? Will there be beer and wine or a full bar? Is it a potluck? If so, you’re in luck! Bring a guilt-free plate.
Appetizers can quickly add up to a full meal, and some fried options can be a real calorie bomb. If you know you are going to enjoy the main course, politely decline the small morsels. However, if you are in need of a little sustenance, grab for protein-based appetizers. The best options include anything that belongs on a seafood tower, a mini lamb chop or chicken skewer. The veggie tray and hummus can be a great option – unless you’re the girl who eats the whole bowl…you know who you are! Avoid fried quiche and flatbread options; these appetizers spike blood sugar and contribute to insulin resistance, inflammation and weight gain. If the appetizers are set up on a table, grab a small plate and fill it once if you have come prepared and calm; grab your wine and float to the opposite side of the room. Remember: You are there to enjoy your friends and celebrate and enjoy a DMC (deep meaningful conversation,) not a crab cake.
The easiest way to hydrate and take a deep breath when you arrive is to make your first drink alcohol free. Grab a soda water with lemon or flat water, this technique allows you to work through the first few party jitters without sucking down a cocktail too quickly. It is also nice to survey the party and recommit to your game plan. You might even decide that you don’t want to waste a boozy night on this party. Starting with water is also sometimes easier than trying to put the wine down. Find what works for you, a water intermission or start your dinner with water and make the decision if one was enough for the night or if you want another. Double fisting (water and cocktail) is a great strategy as well.
Many times we eat out of anxiety, habit or polite response. We end up swallowing foods that don’t agree with us, give us food guilt or worse, foods we don’t even like! We teach our clients to remember what they love and politely decline what doesn’t agree with them. This takes practice but it always helps to be the first to respond. Make eye contact with the server and politely decline so you don’t jump on the band wagon with the group. Avoid making excuses about why you aren’t eating the crab cake or cupcake. Simply smile and engage back in conversation.