The holiday season is a time for joy, cheer, reuniting with friends and family—and lots and lots of parties.
From work functions and family reunions, to happy hours and Christmas parties, the holiday season can be a whirlwind of cocktails and calorie-dense finger foods. (For healthy alternatives, check out these tasty mocktails and low-calorie bites.)
While the holidays might seem like an excellent excuse to splurge (crazy uncles can send anyone running towards the buffet table), the winter months don’t have to ruin the hard work you’ve been putting in all year long. Staying healthy doesn’t mean missing out on all the fun, either. After all, you can skip the open bar and still be the star of your work’s karaoke blowout.
Check out this list of easy ways to survive the holiday party season.
Fit in some Zzz’s
Fitting in extra sleep during the busy holiday season may seem like a daunting task, but it’s one that will pay off big time.
One study found that those who got less sleep were prone to eating more. After just five days of little sleep, study participants gained up to five pounds. Plus, they were more likely to reach for foods with higher fat and carbohydrate contents.
A popular tactic for weight loss is to skip meals before a large meal or party. But the more likely effect is that you’ll binge once you allow yourself to eat.
Instead of starving, eat a healthy, filling meal before holiday parties. This will allow you to arrive at the party satisfied, leaving you to taste only the treats that most entice you.
Stay away from the snack table
Have you ever found yourself hanging out in the kitchen, and before you know it, you’re almost three meals deep? It’s natural to reach for food when it’s in front of you.
That’s why it’s important to schmooze with family members or chat with your cute co-worker away from the snack table. Out of sight, out of mind.
Use a Smaller Plate
Attending a dinner party? Try using a smaller plate.
Studies show that using a larger dinner plate causes people to eat more—without even noticing. Luckily, this illusion can work in the other direction as well. Eating off of a smaller plate can trick the brain into believing that we’re eating more than we actually are, leaving you full and satisfied with a smaller caloric intake.
Be a Better Boozer
No holiday party is complete without champagne sparkling in holiday themed flutes, or eggnog with just a touch too much bourbon in it. While drinks are festive and might make it easier to talk to your newly engaged cousin, cocktails pack a real caloric punch.
If you want to drink, opt for a glass of red wine, or a light beer. If you want more than one drink, alternate each drink with a glass of water. One good option is to abstain—but if you don’t, we understand. Happy Holidays!