Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How Do I Celebrate New Year's Eve and Be Healthy?

No matter how or where you like to celebrate you CAN do it in a more healthy way.

Saying that does not mean that you should deprive yourself and not have any fun at all!

Figure out ahead of time what your biggest challenge is--is it the buffet table filled with breads and cheeses, or the dessert tray laden with high fat, high sugar confections? Or is it the alcohol?

"Know thy enemy" and plan accordingly. Whether you are at a buffet, a friend's party or a sit down restaurant you can succeed. Success starts at home! Eat during the day (don't try to "save up"--you'll be starving and eat way more if you do!) with an emphasis on light foods, lean protein, lots of vegetables and drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated!

Then at the party or restaurant, allow yourself a modest amount of your favorite treat--if your friend Sue makes the best dish for New Years and you have been waiting all year for it, then have some! Then be sure to find other things that you enjoy to fill you up. If possible, choose things that are light and have little or no sauce--lean protein like shrimp is great (emphasis on the lemon rather than dipping sauces) and feels special. Take extra vegetables and less bread or potatoes.

If you are at a buffet-- check out what others are enjoying. Survey the scene before committing. That way you can get what you like the best without piling your plate to the ceiling. Then once you have filled your plate-- move away from the table! If you hang out by the food, you will eat more than if you have to walk across the room for seconds! If the food is in easy reach, it is easy to eat unconsciously, even if you have set the best intentions.

And drink your water! Cocktails have a lot of calories AND they lower our inhibitions about overeating--a double whammy. Make at least every other drink water--if plain water doesn't feel celebratory, make it sparkling mineral water.

Be more active than usual! If you normally watch the ball drop on the television from the comfort of your couch, try dancing along with the participants to burn up some calories...and make your own healthy snacks--just remember to include a couple bites of special treats!

And if you do overindulge--go easy on yourself! You are a wonderful human being. Beating yourself up won't burn off calories or start the party over.

By doing these things you will feel great not only on New Year's Eve, but on New Year's Day, too!

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