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Thanksgiving is right around the corner and before you know it you’ll be heading out to your first holiday party. It’s not uncommon to have all of your free weekends in December fill up with holiday parties. While this is a fun part of the holiday season, it can also make it quite challenging to stay on track with your health and fitness. Use these tips this Thanksgiving and beyond to help you stay healthy during the holiday season.

Use these tips to help you enjoy your holiday parties AND stay healthy:

  1. Practice nutritional checks and balances. You don’t have to avoid party food, nor do you have to eat ALL of the party food. Instead, find your balance by being picky with your indulgences. There’s usually a veggie platter or veggie side dishes at parties, so you can get some veggies and also pick some “fun foods” to satisfy your special holiday cravings. Another way to achieve balance is to focus on protein and veggies during the day to give you some extra calories and wiggle room for party time.
  2. Bring a healthy side dish or main dish. Many holiday parties are potluck style, meaning everyone is invited to bring a dish. Since you don’t have control over what other people bring, take control into your own hands by bringing a healthy dish. This way you know there will at least be one healthy item that you enjoy at the party. I’ve found that by the time mid-December rolls around, many people are ready for some veggies. Your dish might just be the hit of the party!
  3. Eat before your holiday party. If you’d rather eliminate the stress of choosing what to eat, what not to eat, and how much, then just eat before the party! Bonus: This will keep your hands free as you mingle and enjoy spending time with your friends.
  4. Schedule a workout for the next morning. I know, I know. This sounds crazy! BUT, think about it. If you know you’ve got a workout in the AM, you will be less likely to over do it with food and booze so that you don’t feel like total trash during your workout. This technique doesn’t work for everyone, but if you think it might work for you it’s certainly worth a try!
  5. Stand on the other side of the room from the snack table. This way you have to make a conscious effort to fill a plate with your snacks of choice. We all know how easy it is to mindlessly munch while catching up with friends.

Remember: planning is the key to success. Make a plan now. It will be one less thing to worry about when the busy holiday season takes over!