Your Holiday Party Survival Guide: How to Stay Healthy

Use these expert fitness, nutrition, and beauty tips to emerge from holiday party season unscathed.

Champagne toast photo via shutterstock

Champagne toast photo via Shutterstock

Holiday party season is in full swing, everybody. From Yankee swaps to elegant New Year’s Eve soireés, the next three weeks will likely be chock full of social engagements. And while that’s great for your personal life, endless buffet tables, open bars, and late nights can wreak havoc on your health.

Fear not, party goers. We asked experts in nutrition, fitness, and beauty—registered dietitian Skylar Griggs, personal trainer Julie Erickson, and Exhale Battery Wharf Spa Director LeeAnn Collins—for their best party health tips. Here’s your holiday party survival guide:

Before the party:

1. Embrace mini-workouts: A packed social calendar may mean you don’t have time for an hour-long session at the gym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get moving. Erickson suggests fitting in short workouts throughout the day, like a 20-minute walk or a short burst of core exercises. Right before the party, “power through one set of tricep pushups to firm up the back of the arms, rows to target the middle back, and Pilates teasers to prime the superficial ab muscles,” she says.

2. Eat normally. Resist the temptation to fast. Griggs recommends a healthy snack with protein and fiber a few hours before the party, and says to avoid skipping breakfast. “Skipping breakfast will send you into a blood sugar roller coaster for the rest of the day, which may lead to poor eating choices later,” she says.

3. Drink water. Drinking water helps you feel full and may boost metabolism,” Collins says. Have a glass right before you head out the door.

At the party:

1. Keep your muscles engaged. Practice working your posture muscles while you work the room,” Erickson says. “Stand with your belly muscles pulling in so the core muscles are engaged all the time.” You’ll look better and squeeze in a little extra toning.

2. Eat strategically. Griggs says to stick to low-sugar drinks like wine, light beer, and liquor mixed with soda water. Avoid chips and creamy dip, because “it’s hard to estimate calories when you are dipping away”; instead, devote 1/4 of your plate to lean protein, 1/4 to whole grains, and 1/2 to veggies. Try not to belly up to the buffet table, either. “Once you have finished eating the holiday meal or snack, walk away,” Griggs says.

3. Keep drinking water. Collins again emphasizes the importance of hydration, for your skin and for overall health. “Alternate a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage to stay hydrated and keep skin looking fresh,” she recommends.

After the party:

1. Work out the next day—but don’t push it. Had one too many flutes of champagne? Don’t sweat it. Erickson says to simply drink extra water, and adjust your fitness routine as necessary. “If your run becomes a walk, just plan on adding a little more intensity to your next workout,” she says.

2. Keep a food diary. Griggs stresses that one indulgent party or heavy meal is no reason for concern. But, she says, you can “re-start by tracking your intake via an app like MyFitnessPal or just simply recording it in a journal.”

 3. Go right to bed. Hit the sheets as soon as you get home from your shindig to avoid the dreaded under-eye shadows and sallow skin in the morning.