December 14, 2011

Top 10 Holiday Season Party Tips

By Tim Lochhead

So now that the Holiday Season is in full force and temptations and treats are plentiful, I have been getting lots of questions about some extra tips to help “manage the damage” in keeping your health and physique around this time of year. Here are my Top 10 Holiday Season Party Tips:

  1. Position yourself away from bad food (i.e. high carb, sugary items, etc.) – either by staying away from ‘appetizer’ tables or sitting at the end of the table with protein/turkey etc. If you don’t get a good seat or something you don’t want any part of comes around, just keep passing it along! “Oh I don’t think John at the end got any…” and the tempting pie plate or seconds of mashed potatoes travel to the other end and are out of sight.
  2. Do allow yourself a holiday treat, but eat your protein and veggies first. That way you won’t have too much dessert and you’ll still get your nutrition in.
  3. Make the best choice: from meals to hors d’oeuvres load up on higher protein treats (ex. shrimp, meatballs, salmon strips, etc.). This will avoid sugary items that lead to fat gain, mood swings, and immune suppression.
  4. When having your treat take a scoop of fiber or some caps of fenugreek seed as this helps mitigate the insulin response (why do we care about insulin? Read this). Eating a low glycemic food (like veggies above) also helps with the insulin response.
  5. Alcohol is best if avoided altogether, but if you must have something avoid beer and white wine. Nurse red wine or even a hard drink – because this is easier to sip on and make it last awhile – avoiding seconds.
  6. And if you will consume alcohol, drink green tea beforehand. Green tea contains antioxidants and is known to fight oxidative stress all over the body. Research demonstrates that antioxidants in green tea can protect the liver from damage by alcohol. Green tea can also improve insulin sensitivity (a good thing – see above).
  7. Make time for rest! Although this can be a hectic time of year, make sure you get enough sleep. Our bodies like more sleep during the dark winter months. This will help keep up your immune system during cold and flu season.
  8. Enjoy your holidays, but not from the gym. While it may be tempting to plop on the couch in front of a game or movie, that will only compound the extra holiday eating. Exercise also benefits your immune system.
  9. Do high volume training before a feast. The more you’ve worked your muscles the more storage space you have for carbs – avoiding spill-over to fat as much as possible.
  10. Do send guests home with leftovers, if you are hosting of course.


I hope the above tips can contribute to a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!