Hey everybody! Recently I asked what kind of posts you’d like to see more of and health and fitness was a really popular request. If you remember my last post with holistic nutritionist, wellness coach, and founder of beWell Kelly LeVeque, she broke down how to make the perfect healthy smoothie. It’s the green drink you see me drinking on my Snapchat and yes, I drink it every single day.
This time we’ve got Kelly back for tips on how to enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Read on for her amazing advice as well as a few cocktail recipes.
Don’t go Hungry. Enjoy the “Roadie”
Arrive feeling balanced by ingesting 15-20 g 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. Be Well clients affectionately coined this technique the “roadie” and enjoy a light protein shake on the way to their event. Arriving with balanced blood sugar allows you to feel calm avoiding the holiday party pitfalls or calorie laden desserts and appetizers.
Get the Menu
The best way to survive a holiday party is to know what you are walking into. How many times are you checking ingredients and menus before a work lunch? Being as prepared 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 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 appetizer. 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 flat bread 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, enjoy a DMC (deep meaningful conversation) not a crab cake.
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 suck up the extra holiday glucose.
The easiest way to hydrate and take a deep breath 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 at 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.
Choosing clean cocktails are just as important. Vodka, Tequila and Red Wine are great options because they are an easy way to limit sugar. Looking for our favorite fun holiday cocktails?? Try Mulled Red Wine, Champagne over Ice or a Brentwood Russian. (See Below)
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.
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 gilt or worse, we eat foods we don’t even like! At Be Well, we teach are client 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 ban wagon with the group. Avoid making excuses why you aren’t eating the crab cake or cupcake, simply smile and engage back in conversation.
An after dinner cocktail doesn’t need to full of sugar and empty calories. The Brentwood Russian is a new twist on an old cocktail. Created by a loving group of friends on a cold night, this low sugar alternative won’t disappoint. Looking for even less sugar and the same flavor swap the Kahlua for cold pressed coffee.
2/3 ounce Coffee Liquor (Optional: swap cold pressed coffee concentrate)
1 2/3 ounces Vodka
2 oz ounces Fresh Almond or Coconut Milk
Serving: 1 cocktail
In a short glass with ice, add coffee liquor, vodka and almond milk. Stir to mix.
1 Bottle of red wine
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 Tbsp honey
1 bag mulling spices
Anise pods for garnish
In a saucepan, combine wine, cinnamon sticks and honey. Dip the bag of mulling spices in the pot like tea bag. Heat though. Pour in mug and garnish.
1 glass of champage
¼ cup Ice
* Garnish of Choice
A celebratory drink that waters down sugar content but still provides bubbles, champagne over ice is no longer taboo.
Replace ice with frozen blackberries and garnish with a spring of rosemary
Top with a thinly sliced apple and shake of cinnamon
Add a few pomegranate seeds and a orange twist