It’s that time of year again! Holiday parties! As I’m planning ahead, I’ve been looking around for ideas on how to throw a healthier holiday party. I’m a foodie and like many people, the food is a key element at any holiday event. Still, I want to enjoy the holidays without regrets.
Even as an introvert, I do love attending a fun holiday party or two throughout the season. What I don’t always enjoy is how I feel afterwards. No, I’m not talking about a hangover (I barely ever drink) – well at least not one from alcohol. I’m talking about that feeling you get after overindulging in rich foods.
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How to Throw a Healthier Holiday Party
I have Crohns disease and overindulging can wreak havoc on my system. Then, I feel guilty because I feel like I “did it to myself”. Even if you don’t have a chronic disease, you might be able to relate to those feelings.
So, I’ve put together some ideas to use at my next holiday party to make it easier to have fun AND eat healthier. Let’s enjoy celebrating the holidays and kick the guilt to the curb!
Serve the food buffet style.
This allows your guests to pick and choose what they want to eat without feeling like others are “watching” and perhaps judging. Yes, people judge us for eating too much AND too little. (Oh here, just try one bite! OR Aren’t you going to try the cake I made? – sound familiar?)
Provide smaller plates.
I want to sample a taste of everything and on a big plate, it can look a little sparse. You don’t want to FEEL deprived because that often leads to overeating. You can always go back for more of your favorites!
Serve a variety of foods – healthy and indulgences – so your guests have options.
No, I’m not saying to skip the shortbread cookies. They are my favorite and you can be sure I will be having plenty of those! The thing is, it’s easy to FILL UP on the shortbread cookies and leave no room for anything healthy. So, I never tell myself “you can only have one” when it comes to my favorites.
Instead, I grab some of the healthier foods that I enjoy too and I make sure to eat some of those first. Then, I’m not ravenously hungry when I’m ready to eat the “treats” and it’s easier to eat those within reason (instead of chowing down like I haven’t eaten in a week!).
Offer foods with a variety of colors and textures.
It’s true that we eat with our eyes first. Make sure that there is a wide variety to appeal to everyone’s senses!
Think about the background setting.
Studies show that people tend to eat more slowly when the lights are dimmer (not too dim though – people tend to eat even more when it’s dark!) and when there is mellow music playing. You want a relaxed atmosphere for your guests!
Plan for activities other than food.
With my friends, we generally don’t need to plan much of anything. We know that we’re all going to have lots to catch up on and the conversation will flow like crazy!
Depending on your guest list though, you might want to plan a fun ice-breaking game or two. Perhaps you’re going to have a crazy Christmas gift exchange. Or maybe you want to challenge each other to some holiday trivia.
Planning for other activities (or at least having some in your back pocket if needed) keeps the emphasis on the good company, instead of solely on the food.
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