Have you ever felt that having a night out means making the choice between looking like a party pooper or piling on the pounds? We all know that keeping alcohol to a minimum and avoiding the kebab house is a good idea but you don’t have to avoid fun all together. Here are some top tips for staying healthy while still enjoy a good party over the festive season:
Before you go out
In addition to getting your hair done, applying the false eyelashes and slipping into your fave party shoes, make a healthy dinner part of your party prep. It’s tempting to skip the last meal of the day to feel slimmer that evening but it’s not a good idea for a couple of reasons. First, drinking on an empty stomach means that alcohol is absorbed into your system super fast, instead of gradually like it does when combined with food. You don’t want to end up being put in a taxi home by 10pm! The second reason it’s not a great idea is because you’re likely to end up feeling hungry later on in the evening and after a couple of glasses of wine, your willpower is likely to wane and you’ll find yourself craving any bar snack you can get your hands on. Make sure your dinner comprises of some protein (such as organic meat, eggs, fish, seafood or tofu/quorn/beans/lentils for veggies) alongside some low glycaemic vegetables. Why not bake a wild salmon fillet with a tray of spiced Mediterranean roasted vegetables and serve with some chickpeas?
If you’re eating out
Having dinner in a restaurant? Be careful when dining in large numbers, research at Georgia State University found that the larger the group of people we dine with the more likely we are to over eat. Try to avoid eating shared meals such as tapas when it’s tricky to control how much you’re consuming. Instead of diving into the bread basket, opt for olives or a vegetable anti pasta instead. Plan ahead – have a look at the restaurant menu online and decide in advance what you’re going to have to eat. Remember that you can ask for something that’s different to what’s on the menu, so if you fancy a steak, ask for it to be served with a salad or veggies instead of chips and béarnaise sauce.
At the bar
The worst drinks of all are sugar filled alcopops, fizzy drinks and cocktails. Go for a dry wine or vodka with soda water and fresh lime. It’s a good idea to keep your fluid intake up as well – add a splash of soda water into your white wine to make a spritzer or alternate between alcoholic drinks and non alcoholic. As with food, sharing bottles of wine can present problems. Keep a close eye on how much you’re having, don’t let people top you up until you’ve finished your glass. There are drink counter apps on which can help you keep track of how much you’re drinking too.
Try your best to avoid being dragged to a kebab house or late night fried chicken joint, you WILL regret it in the morning. Pre-empt your post club munchies and prepare some healthy but satisfying snacks to munch on when you get in.
The morning after the night before…
When you’re in the midst of hang-over hell, you might feel like a big greasy fry up is the only option. Instead of heading for a diet disaster zone, make a healthy cooked breakfast instead. Go for venison or quorn sausages, poach or scramble your eggs instead of frying, grill some mushrooms and tomatoes and opt for wholegrain toast instead of fried bread. Instead of lying on the sofa watching rubbish telly and feeling sorry for yourself, take a walk in the fresh air, you’ll feel so much better for it afterwards. Whatever happened the night before, today is a new day so don’t dwell on what’s happened, focus on what’s ahead and plan for a positive tomorrow.