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Holiday Party Survival Guide

Holiday Party Survival Guide

The holidays are a fun season full of family and friend gatherings, holiday work events, ugly sweater parties, and the like. However, when you are trying to be mindful of your health after having bariatric surgery, it can feel a bit more stressful. 

Having a plan in place, and ideas for approaching the holiday parties with healthy options in mind, is always a great place to start!

Choose Sugar-free or Low Sugar Drink Options

We all love holiday beverages, but it is important to be cautious about the sugar present in them. A few options to be cautious of include store bought eggnog, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, holiday coffee beverages, fruit juice, and especially alcohol.

Alcohol hits so much harder after bariatric surgery, so it is important to be careful. Diet cranberry with a bit of vodka or Skinny Girl Margarita brand is a nice option as well.

However, if you’re still in that first year after your surgery, alcohol should be avoided. Try some non-alcoholic mocktails! For an option that still has an alcoholic taste, try the brands Ritual and Seedlip. Their websites have some really creative recipes! Just be mindful to avoid carbonation and high sugar additives like syrups. But you can usually find a sugar free syrup online!

For those other traditional holiday beverages like eggnog, here is a homemade recipe that is very low in sugar, and works great for someone trying to be mindful of their nutrition.

Don’t forget to stay well hydrated, and make sure you are sipping on your favorite sugar-free drinks or water throughout the evening. Remember, your goal is 64 ounces daily.

Healthy Holiday Baking

Check out last week's blog post on Healthy Substitutions for Holiday Baking!

This way, you can still create holiday memories with your children or family members, without all the sugar and carbohydrates. Healthier alternatives still taste great and can be the dessert that you bring to the holiday party! 

Now, it’s time to remember to choose your option over the other higher sugar and higher carbohydrate options brought to the party.

Bring the Healthy Option

Offer to bring an appetizer that is higher in protein like turkey meatballs, a charcuterie board, or shrimp cocktail. Other great options include bringing a vegetable tray, fruit bowl, or strawberries dipped in dark chocolate.

You can also be the guest that brings a lower carbohydrate/lower sugar dessert! There will likely be another guest looking to enjoy a healthier dessert along with you. 

Avoid Eating When Really Hungry

You may be tempted to skip a meal before going to a party to save yourself calories in the event that you overeat. However, this will almost always backfire and not be as helpful as you think it will be.

Even though you are attending a holiday party, try to maintain your schedule! It’s never helpful to go into a meal hungry, especially after bariatric surgery. You’re more likely to make unhealthier choices, graze on higher carbohydrate snacks like chips, and over eat with the regret to follow.

Do your best to be present and mindful at these holiday parties as well, and enjoy the conversations and developing deeper relationships with the people you’re around.

Practice Mindfulness

Using a smaller plate at holiday parties helps keep your portions appropriately sized. Our eyes are typically larger than our stomachs, especially when we’re surrounded by a lot of really delicious foods! When using a larger plate, it becomes very easy to put more food on your plate than you are able to actually eat. This leads to feeling guilty about food waste and feeling as though you have to finish what you served yourself to avoid feeling rude.

Eating a meal is psychological as well, having a small amount of food on a large plate tends to make people feel not as satisfied as a nicely portioned meal on a smaller plate.

All you can do is your best. If you’re going to eat something that is higher in sugar or carbohydrates, try to keep your serving to about  3 small bites. This will give you the opportunity to sample something, without overdoing it. 

Be Kind to Yoursef

Do your best, but give yourself a break. If you over indulged, it’s important to move past this moment. Do your best to practice mindfulness and plan ahead, but a few days of poor eating isn’t going to derail the entire year. Try to give yourself a little extra grace and kindness, and try to make better choices with the next day or meal.

Katie Ott, MS, RD

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